“The belief that one’s own view of reality
is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions.”
Paul Watzlawick (Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher)
Way too many leaders are hindered because they haven’t received useful, succinct, granular feedback about their leadership behaviours from their boss, their peers and/or their team members.
And because they haven’t received this feedback, their self-perception isn’t in alignment with the way others see them…
What Are The Potential Costs Of Your Self-Perception Not Being Aligned With Others’ Perceptions Of You?
Let’s consider two not-untypical cases to make the point…
Imagine that I perceive that I’m a leader who listens well and who forms good trusting relationships with others—and you perceive that I often behave like a single-minded, command-and-control leader.
Or imagine that I perceive that my strong results-orientation make me an exceptionally valuable leader—and you perceive that my results orientation has me behaving in an abrupt, impatient fashion whenever the targeted result is threatened.
What’s the potential downside of these mismatched views?
The greatest concern is that I’m not going to enhance my leadership practices and behaviours. I’ll be stuck in my dysfunctional leadership rut for the rest of my leadership days. And consequently the productivity and performance of my team is likely to be heavily impacted…
It will likely result in:
- Low morale
- High staff turnover
- Reduced teamwork
- Low staff engagement
- Little discretionary effort
- Minimal initiative and innovation.
Let’s be clear—everyone has strengths and development opportunities. (I think we’d disappear into a puff-of-blue-mist if we didn’t have these opportunities .)
And after more than 25 years of working in organisational and leadership development there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the single most impactful way of determining your leadership strengths and development opportunities is through a 360 degree feedback process—but not just any old 360 feedback process…
Pitfalls Of Typical 360 Feedback Processes
To determine the best way to get feedback let’s answer the question, what are your targeted outcomes from the feedback? I suggest there are two biggies:
- Candour—without candid, honest feedback we’re wasting our time, aren’t we?
To be truly candid 99% of people need to be confident that they’ll have anonymity.
And here lies one of the problems with the typical electronic 360 process: Many observers say that they haven’t been altogether candid when they’ve participated in an electronic 360 process. Because their feedback was being given “in writing” they were concerned about their anonymity. Of course this means that we can’t entirely trust an electronic 360 report.
- Real clarity on which of your 2 or 3 most critical behaviours that, if changed, would make you a much more successful leader in your organisation.You can only focus on 1, 2 or, at most, 3 behavioural changes at a time.Which presents us with another big problem with typical electronic 360 processes: Receiving feedback about 12 or more developmental opportunities is confusing and redundant.
THE Best Way To Get Feedback
Years ago I always used an electronic 360 degree process—until late one evening my software crashed. I had commited to launch it the next morning, which meant I had a problem! Then a light went on in my head—“I could speak to the observers, rather than have them answer an electronic questionnaire.”
My crashing software turned out to be a blessing. Not once since that crash have I ever been tempted to do a 360 electronically…
I’d discovered the value of having candid, anonymous conversations with the leader’s observers. Through discussion we developed real clarity about where the leader has been right on track and which 1, 2 or 3 behaviours, if changed, would make that the leader much more successful in their organisation.
Because I’m able to ask questions to throw light on any confusing comments, our discussions put “meat on the bone”—resulting in the leader getting granular feedback about which practices and behaviours, if altered, would move them closer to exemplary leadership.
Your Leadership Call to Action
Are you ready to take a step towards being extraordinary?
To do so you need clarity on precisely what behaviours you need to adjust to enable you to move closer to that extraordinary position.
Since my software crashed about ten-years ago, I’ve been refining the 360 process I use. Now we have truly succinct, granular and candid feedback that is always highly instrumental in helping leaders move towards being extraordinary. Many leaders swear that our 360 feedback discussions have been their most revealing, most impactful and most useful development process ever.
Send me an email if you want to talk about what this might look like for you or for a leader in your team.
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.