Leaders do what they say they will do and expect the same from others. One of my mentors used to say, “You expect what you inspect.” Great leaders follow up and follow through. Great leaders test their communication effectiveness.
Testing your communication effectiveness
Realizing that good communication is a 2-way street, we must take responsibility for our part. True feedback is priceless but only if we are open to listening with an open heart and mind. Whatever form of feedback you choose (i.e. verbal, mail, e-mail, etc.), if you don’t get the outcome you seek (from a “willing” recipient), the responsibility lies with the sender. The sender is YOU. Great leaders confirm, gain commitment, and solicit feedback to improve the process.
About now I am hearing you ask, “How?”
You can ask
Asking for true feedback from a subordinate or even a peer can be awkward and even unrealistic. Since that is the case, I teach my clients the Marshall Goldsmith “FeedForward” approach to seeking input.
In this feedforward exercise you are asked to choose to change one behavior that you believe will make a positive difference in your life, performance, happiness, or whatever is important to you. The next step is to describe this behavior to those closest to you, with an ask for one or two suggestions that they believe will enable a positive change in your behavior or outcome. Once you have asked, you stop talking and pause to listen. The pause may be uncomfortable, it is important to stop talking and truly listen. Listen to the feedback and simply say, “thank you.” Do not debate, do not judge, do not critique, just listen and appreciate the feedback. The feedback is a gift, an input to your self-assessment, and contributes to your power to change behavior.
I had the honor of learning this technique from Marshall himself at a coaching conference.
Here is your opportunity to learn from him as well:
For the analytical types, you may be wondering why FeedForward works. Unlike feedback, which has multiple detrimental consequences, feedforward creates positive emotions, fosters bonding, builds psychological safety, and promotes the elicitation and sharing of information.
This technique also works for providing employee feedback. I love that FeedForward keeps your employee from dwelling on their failures and instead helps them see how they can improve outcomes in the future. No matter how much you diagnose the problem, we can’t change the past. Shifting to a FeedForward approach will show employees exactly what you expect, in addition to building a growth mindset.
Check out this January 2018 HRB article to learn “What having a “Growth Mindset” actually means. It is too powerful of a concept to brush over.
You can self-asses by having an honest dialogue with yourself. It is an effective approach if you are capable of being honest with yourself. It is a hard conversation to have. Trust that you won’t fool anyone (even yourself) if you are any less than totally honest.
Here are key questions to get you started:
- Does my team deliver to my expectations? If not -what role do I play in creating the gaps?
- Am I consistent in my actions?
- Does my talk match my walk?
- Do I talk more than I listen?
- Do I ask questions, or do I tell?
- Do I feel alone in the boat?
You can look to external assessment tools. There are many tools available to help you to seek feedback beyond your self-assessment. The best assessment tools utilize a 360-degree approach.
A 360-degree feedback (also known as multi-rater feedback, multi-source feedback, or multi–source assessment) is a process that gathers feedback from your subordinates, colleagues, and executives comparing the results with your own self-evaluation. Your HR organization may have a company sponsored 360.
I am certified and utilize the Bates ExPI™ Assessment in my Executive Coaching and Advisory service offering. It is very powerful in providing guidance as it is the only research-based assessment that targets executive presence helping leaders to develop their presence and influence needed to lead teams, drive strategy, and make an impact.
The Bates ExPI™ Assessment individual assessment measures the perceptions of others against your self-perceptions in order to identify strengths and gaps across all relevant facets of leadership that contribute to one’s presence and impact as a leader. The assessment is unique as it measures effectiveness against the Character, Substance and Style of the leader.
I encourage you to learn more as it is by far the most unique and powerful executive assessment available.
Those who study the human condition have found that “behavior that is recognized is behavior that gets repeated.” The team knows what their Leader, historically, has paid attention to and what has been “overlooked.” As the Leader, change your behavior and you will change your results.
I am here for you if you need a little help or want to learn more.
Until next week!
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach
☎ 480.393.0722 (AZ)
Let’s Talk sponsored by ITeffectivity.com – an IT Executive Coaching and Advisory practice targeting CIO’s challenge of leading and delivering business solutions with a focus on effective people and process capabilities. Discover the possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.