The Courage To Learn From Others

Receiving feedback that stings is always difficult. None of us wants a scarlet letter on us regarding our behavior.

In my previous blog post, I spoke about the value of feedback and the gift it actually is, providing you hold it as such. One of the best ways to begin to neutralize feedback like this is to meet with the stakeholders who provided it. I know you’re saying, you can’t be serious?

I am. It takes some courage. And they’re unlikely to give you a medal for it. But, you’ll reap rewards in the long run.

Be Willing to Listen

Just the overture alone of meeting with certain execs and asking them how you can augment your behavior sends a profound message of humility and desire to change. Just think to yourself, “I wonder if they could do this when their time comes?” At the very least, you are a setting a good example to your directs…which is what leaders should do, right?

Be Willing to Change

There are two main reasons why you should embrace the feedback and get more of it directly from the sources:

One, you’ll learn what is really important to them and how you “show up” to them now. This will be the baseline upon which you begin altering your behavior to align with their expectations.

Two, you’ll get a window into certain actions you can take that may, at first seem risky, but are really no more than acknowledging a current behavior you’ve manifested and substituting this behavior with another.

Just trying it sends a great message of sincere desire to get in lock-step with the execs.

Try it the next time you get some not-so-great feedback and let me know how it goes.

It’s Not Me…The Problem Is The Job

Of course it’s not you. The job…that’s the real issue, right? If only your skills were being put to use in a more productive way.

Oh really?

As you develop as an executive, and coach others as well, you will discover that leadership is more about the courage and desire to change than it is about finding blame.

You Have to Want It

To develop yourself, you have to want it. Doesn’t work any other way! Believe me…I’ve seen too many people go through the motions of development but not be fully committed to learning/changing. It’s not worth going through a 360 review or collaborating with a coach unless you TRUST your superior genuinely wants you to grow and advance in your organization.

Trust Them…and You

You also need to TRUST yourself. You need to trust that a part of you knows you need to develop and your boss sees this nascent behavior in you already, they just want to accelerate it for you.

The value of the 360 when done in person, with tailored questions to pinpoint behaviors to strengthen, is a gift of awareness that many executives never get the chance to realize. Hold this feedback as a gift, not a jail sentence.

Are You a Horse?

If enough people call you a horse…buy a saddle. What I mean is, when you get feedback that points to behavior trends, it is the objective evidence you can either a) reject because they just don’t know you well or, b) use to develop yourself. I bet you can guess which option I recommend.

Face it, fifteen people can’t be all wrong, nor can the “job” have done this to you.

Your management team is providing you with your first road map with which to shape into a development plan. Try it, you’ll like it.

Negative Feedback: Is It Too Late to Change?

Feedback that criticizes your work can be difficult to accept yet, we’ve all had our fair share of it.

My focus this week reinforces the importance of putting feedback in its proper context. Read more

Executive Development: It’s Not Me…It’s Them

Recently, I began coaching a bright, articulate head of M&A of a financial services organization.

His 360 Degree Feedback Report was quite eye-opening in that most of his peers did not speak very favorably of him. Seemingly inconsistent with that feedback, he spoke very highly of them and was sure they would do the same for him.

Upon reviewing the Report with him he said, “it’s the job that illicited these comments, not me.” For a moment, I was taken aback with his response.

I remember saying to him, “Really? It’s the job not you?” And he reinforced his belief.

Read more