Leaders often fear the exposure and vulnerability that come with direct and honest feedback. However, the best leaders are those who are willing to hear what’s going on with others. That’s why it is so very important to pay close attention to item #16 of the Leadership Practices Inventory® (LPI®): I ask for feedback on how my actions affect other people’s performance. Having one or more practice activities that you engage in on a daily basis will go a long way to improve the frequency of this essential leadership behavior and, as a result, improve your effectiveness as a leader.
Begin today getting comfortable with honest dialogue by engaging at least one team member or constituent in conversation for feedback. Reflect on that experience at the end of the day and write down your responses to the following:
- Describe the conversation and feedback you received.
- How will this feedback improve your performance as a leader?
- How will it improve the performance of the team member or constituent?
For an additional online activity, use the instant feedback of Twitter to build your feedback experience. Consider setting up a Twitter account for an appropriate project or initiative. Then ask your team members or constituents to report developments, react to ideas, and post suggestions online. Remember that leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue.
Adapted from The Leadership Challenge® Practice Book, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, © 2010, published by Pfeiffer/An imprint of Wiley. All rights reserved.