I couldn’t count the number of times people in organisations have said that their leaders just aren’t getting candid feedback.
And many leaders have disclosed to me that they personally haven’t been completely candid in giving their boss feedback.
What’s This Got To Do With The Disease That Most Leaders Have?
“CEO’s Disease” is a disease that a CEO—and all other leaders—become infected with when they move into a leadership role.
Their positional power prevents them from getting accurate feedback about their leadership. The causes of the lack of accurate feedback are usually that the observer:
- Wants to be liked
- Fears reprisal, or
- Is conflict-averse—i.e. they steer away from anything that’s sensitive to discuss.
There’s a fair chance you’re one of the many leaders who’re not getting candid feedback on their leadership. And this has serious consequences!
What Are The Consequence Of Living With The Disease?
Without candid feedback you won’t know which parts of your leadership need to be attended to.
If you want to have optimal impact as a leader AND progress your career, this not-knowing means you’re living in a danger-zone.
If you’re at all interested in being a better leader or advancing your career, believe me, this danger-zone is a seriously bad place to be.
Now, I can hear a heap of you saying, “That’s not me, I get candid feedback. My team members aren’t fearful about being honest with me.”
Perhaps I don’t know about you—but I do know that a huge number of leaders aren’t getting clear feedback. And it’s costing them. (I say this after working with leaders one-on-one for around fifteen years and in a group context for another 10-years before that.)
And The Solution Is?
How can you get greater clarity on—exactly—where you’re on track and where you’re not as well on track?
Here are some ways to inoculate yourself against this serious disease:
- The first important step is to simply be alert to the possibility that you don’t know “the whole truth” about how you’re perceived as a leader.
- Then, ensure you courageously model authenticity in all your conversations with each of your team members—and your peers too.You know, candidly putting their thoughts and feelings on the table is THE major issue that the leaders I’ve coached over the years need to work on. It’s one of the most difficult issues to shift on your own and it’s one of the biggest areas of benefit from working with a coach.And trust me, there’s no need to worry or fret about this. There are good tools and practices that make being candid a lot easier.
- Tell your team members and your peers that you’re serious about wanting to up-the-ante and enhance your leadership. Let them know that, to do that, you need candid feedback from them.Ask them “Where do you think I’m most on-track?” Then, “Where do you think I could be more on-track?”. After each question do nothing but LISTEN. And then say “Thank you”.
- Talk with me about me having a 360 discussion with your key players.The safety of the one-on-one environment provokes full honesty because your team member/peer feels:
- Relaxed because of the rapport in the conversation
- Safe that their input will be anonymous
- Comfortable that there’s no permanent electronic record
- Glad to finally put their honest perceptions on the table.
- If you need greater clarity on what your existing 360 is really saying, or trying to say, have it followed up.An external coach like me would have a chat with your 360 observers with the intention of unconfusing the confusing things. Again with rapport and the security of anonymity.
Your Leadership Call To Action
To be sure you know exactly what you could work on to enhance your leadership and your career—you need to take action!
Consider the above options. Consider accelerating your progress by working with a coach.
Your career will begin to look brighter as a result of knowing where you have opportunities to move closer to being an exemplary leader.
Whatever action you take, all the very best with these important investigations.
Your comments please.
“It was very rewarding for me to understand other people’s perspective on my leadership, and then work on strategies to leverage my strengths and understand and work on my weaknesses. While it can be confronting to tackle weaknesses, it was done in a way that challenged me to work on solutions that suited my particular skills and personality. Thanks again Carolyn.”
– General Manager, Operations
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.
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About Carolyn Stevens
Carolyn works intimately with key leaders who are in a hurry to further boost their success. She offers an insightful understanding of their world gained from working in human resource development for around 25 years. She’s results-oriented, authentic and able to draw on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit each executive, leader or team’s situation. Find out more about Carolyn’s work at leadingperformance.com.au