A leader should wake up each day as if it were January 1, and be ready and eager to rewrite his agenda.
- Jack Welch
In his book, The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey talks about how to go from effectiveness to greatness in a world that has become so competitive that effectiveness is no longer enough to succeed. According to Covey, one of the greatest challenges in today's world is to "find our voice and inspire others to find theirs."
Covey suggests we begin by seeking feedback and asking questions such as: How is it going? What are you learning? What are your goals? How can I help you? How am I doing as a helper?
As business leaders, we often have a vision, a plan, a solution to a problem and an enthusiasm to get started and then reality sets in. Because good leaders encourage feedback in order to promote a healthy work environment, the result can be that Team members may come up with a better idea, a better strategy and a better solution.
The Good Leader is able to accept this input objectively and see the change of direction as an opportunity to inspire and energize the Team. This will also reinforce that feedback, given and taken, is part of the company or organization culture.
In order for a company or organization to be a "learning organization," a concept developed by Peter Senge, there must be the development of a 'Shared Vision' that will motivate the members to focus on improvement and express their individual ideas, thus "finding their voice." Through feeback they will feel empowered and a sense of ownershipe.
In order to ensure that "giving and receiving" feedback is a win-win situation, please try the following suggestions:
When Giving Feedback
- Speak directly to the person
- Show a calm and non-judgmental attitude
- Listen intently and do not overreact
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Give specific examples
- Focus on behaviors that are changeable
- Reiterate what you have heard during the interchange
When Receiving Feedback:
- Listen calmly without interrupting
- Keep a non-judgmental attitude
- Believe that everyone is telling the truth as they perceive it
- Ask for specific examples
- Clarify what you hear
- Do not dismiss positive feedback
- Thank the person for the feedback
Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
- Ken Blanchard
Until next month, remember that kindness and respect are always the "order of the day."