Here is an excellent article in HBR regarding “Knowing Your Weaknesses” and the importance of feedback. We work with many of our clients to complete a 360 assessment to help identify blind spots, giving them feedback with the help of an anonymous survey. But, we all know we need to move beyond anonymity and be better when it comes to feedback. So here are a few considerations that align with what we teach in our programs:
Ask for feedback on your leadership philosophy
We work with our clients to formally declare their personal behavior standards via a written document called a “Leadership Philosophy.” We then have them share this with their team to provide transparency and eliminate the guesswork with regard to priorities, expectations, and non-negotiables. This is a great way to open the door for feedback. Have your direct reports review it regularly and ask for "2 Ups & 2 Downs," i.e. 2 things you are doing well and 2 things that are not perfect, to ensure you get something to address. Communicate that you have a sincere desire to learn and improve, which means don’t get defensive when people do what you ask them to do when they identify your “opportunities!” Often, the best time to get feedback on you is after you’ve given them feedback! Revisiting your leadership philosophy regularly is a great way to ensure credibility and an easy technique to get feedback on your behaviors.
Ask for feedback on your organization’s Values (or other such known TEAM standards)
Are you modeling the right things for others? Are you living up to the behavioral standards your organization has targeted for all team members? Most every organization has values and/or some sort of corporate commitments for behavioral norms. Inviting input regularly on those standards not only demonstrates your commitment to their importance but affords others the opportunity to provide you with feedback on how you measure up to them.
Ask for feedback on specific areas you are trying to improve
A great place to start? Consider your blind spots (things you don’t know about yourself but that others may), or areas you know you need to improve. The more specific you can be in asking for feedback, the more likely you’ll receive actionable suggestions! If you’ve completed a 360 assessment, seek input regularly on those areas that weren’t perfect, while demonstrating a genuine interest in making them better.
Challenge yourself to seek out your weaknesses and then ask for feedback. This (initially) uncomfortable process leads to growth, as well as a better understanding of who you are as a leader. Over time, you’ll get better, both at asking for input, and dealing with it when people give it to you!
If you have any questions about how we can help you get better feedback, or maybe completing a 360 assessment to start to identify your “opportunities,” let us know! We all know this is something that all leaders should do well, making this…Leader Business!
Lead the Way!