Thursday, February 16, 2012

my bad

Hard to believe I last posted a blog back in November. Not sure if it has been an issue of time or not quite knowing what to say. I always have an opinion on leadership, so not quite sure what is keeping me from posting here on a more regular basis.

I so appreciate people's comments on what I have written in the past...part of leadership (at least for me) is getting feedback on what I do and say. While I always appreciated uninvited feedback (at least ost of the time), sometimes I find myself having to seek feedback. Here are a few ways I go about that process:

  • I have found that if I only ask "what did you think?" I get the standard "that was good" or some other cursory response. I need to be specific, or ask one more time, "No, really...what did you think?"

  • When people mention something about my leadership, or compliment me on an action I have taken, I ask them to elaborate some more and tell me WHY it was good for them. This helps me to more fully understand what they saw and experienced.

  • Because people normally have a hard time devlivering bad news, I have to begin by giving them permission to tell me the bad and the ugly. It might sound something like, "I'm not sure that meeting went very well...can you tell me where I might have done something that did not work?"

  • With trusted friends and advisors, I may tell them ahead of time to watch closely and give me feedback following a meeting or event. Then I make sure to follow up with them.

  • When people bring up a topic with which I find myself wondering if my actions in that arena are less than admirable, I let them know that they have permission to call me out if I ever act in that manner. Yesterday I was conversing with a colleague and she brought up the issue of giving introverted people space in which they may network differently than extroverted people. I realized that my actions will often promote those who are extroverted and inhibit those who are introverted. I told her she can call me out - even in public - if she ever sees me acting in such a manner.

So how are you getting feedback on your leadership? Without some type of feedback, there are few ways to really improve. And the best feedback is real time are you getting that on a regular basis?

1 comment:

kurt bennett said...

Don, Good to see you posting again. The most important means of receiving feedback for me was by engaging in face to face conversation with my followers (firefighters in my case). Even if you have to make a list with the name of each of your followers on it, and check each one off after each visit to insure you meet with every one each year, do it. There were times when I did well with this and times when I failed in this area. The difference in my effectiveness as a leader was dramatic. The trap is to feel as though it's not a productive use of time. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's worth it. Do it. Leadership doesn't tolerate disengagement.