As leaders we often take pride in developing strong, open relationships with those that work directly for us. We just "know" they would feel comfortable coming to us if they have an issue or concern. Right? In fact, we're so effective, that at anytime those employees can march right into our offices and let loose without fear of retaliation. Right?
NOT SO FAST
When was the last time you could honestly say you knew how your employees felt about you? I don't mean when you received a card on Bosses Day or a nice birthday gift. I mean, when did your employees really tell you, at length, about your performance as their leader? It's been a long time for me too. We spend so much time and energy focusing on giving them feedback, communicating regularly, and "engaging" them in order to get their "buy-in" that we often miss a terrific opportunity to build a deep, trusting relationship with our teams.
LOTS OF OPTIONS
Many options are now available to help us collect data about our performance. Ranging from one-on-one meetings to 360 degree survey tools and external coaching sessions, we really have no excuse for avoiding feedback...unless we don't want it. But that isn't you or I, right?
THE TRUST SOLUTION
I would like you to consider a slightly different approach. The process is straightforward, efficient, and based on trust. First you'll need to identify a facilitator that both you and your team respects. Bring that person with you, unannounced, to your next regularly scheduled meeting with the group. Introduce your facilitator, explain you will be leaving the room, but that your guest will be asking three questions and documenting the responses.
1. What should your leader do more of?
2. What should your leader do less of?
3. What is your leader doing that should remain the same?
Clarify for the team that all comments are confidential and only you and the facilitator will review them. You will then process through the feedback with your team at your next regularly scheduled meeting.
HOW ABOUT YOU
Have you built a foundation of trust with your direct reports? Are you willing to take the next step and prove it? Or, are you simply another Stuart Smalley?
I'd love to hear from you.
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