Getting Leadership Feedback – Strive for Honest Conversations

In my last post we learned how leaders need accurate and actionable information in order to assess their performance and grow as a leader. One way to do this is through 360-assessments, or surveys, that allow leaders to receive valuable feedback from their colleagues. These kinds of performance reviews allow leaders to identify strengths and weaknesses in their leadership style. Identifying potential issues that could derail your leadership efforts is important. 

Another tool you can use is a verbal diagnostic tool.  One example is the “Good to Great Diagnostic Tool” .  Using this tool, you can facilitate discussion with your leadership team and/or staff and receive verbal feedback on your leadership performance. 

This tool provides real-time data that is available to everyone in the meeting.  Through this group discussion, you can begin to see how the impact of your influence and communication style on various topics is often a direct reflection of your leadership proclivities. This allows you to identify opportunities to improve.  If you facilitate this discussion with your staff on an annual basis, you can also see how your leadership performance changes year-over-year.

As a leader, you should also be having one-on-one conversations with your direct reports and staff members throughout your entire organization.  Having these conversations on a recurring as well as an ad hoc basis will develop trust and build a stronger rapport with your team.  Many times employees can be hesitant in to speak honestly and openly because your leadership decisions can impact their pay increases, promotions, and other events that could have a significant effect on them. While your staff will always be concerned about sharing their thoughts with you, there are still many types of conversations you need to have with them in order to promote a healthy culture. The conversations that promote trust are the most important because your staff will feel they can share their feelings with you in a safe and inviting atmosphere. 

Hopefully by now you are beginning to get a sense of how important it is to have various “mirrors” to help you recognize your blind spots and identify potential derailers to your career. By doing this you will lead by example positively. Next, we will begin to examine critical skills to help you gain valuable insights from your one-on-one conversations: empathy and active listening.