Leaders Cannot Move Further Without Feedback
Imagine this scenario: You’re in a room full of people, speaking about a topic that should be highly engaging. Ten minutes into the conversation, you start making a relevant and significant point, something that should generate a strong response of diverging ideas.
Here timing is essential because by now, you should be able to set up a stage for friction so that you could throw a brilliant solution that would solve the conflict. But none of it happens you get no response, not even an eyebrow raise or a simple, reassuring smile.
What you do receive is a blank stare. Can you think of ideas that could set this session on the right track? How do you make people respond to you?
We think of leaders a people who should know how to motivate and inspire others. But how many of us have thought through, really? Is that all that leaders are supposed to do? Don’t you think that leaders are also required to monitor performance, handle conflicts while also holding others accountable for results? And if so, how do you think will they get this? Don’t you think leaders rely heavily on feedback?
Feedback is crucial for leaders because it’s the only way for them to measure effectiveness. More importantly, leaders need feedback from the people they work with. If they’re unable to spark inspiration and motivate them to make things happen, how are they going to know what’s working and not working for them?
In most organisations, hierarchy is entrenched so deeply within the structure that senior leaders find themselves living in a bubble. Nobody working under them has the courage to stand up and tell them the truth. “That’s great” and “I’ll get right on it” are the closest that they get to receive feedback. Due to this reason, senior leaders begin to assume that they are the most insightful and inspiring. And it’s understandable because who wants to give the bad news to the leader and risk their job?
But think of it again, is it better to mislead someone? Would you rather let someone live in a lie and feed them with false positivity? Don’t you think that this is worse than giving someone an honest and authentic response? In fact, wouldn’t that have more impact on the project and overall company culture?
Hearing praises is easy but it’s not what makes you a better leader. In contradiction, it’s listening to the criticism that fuels you with fire and energy to change your path and make things happen. At the end of the day, leaders need direct and accurate feedback to make impactful decisions.
Today, most companies struggle with this because everything comes down to ego – real leaders don’t get hurt by one constructive feedback. When top-level management continues to satiate their ego with sugar-coated feedback, they become crutches. Due to this very reason, the environment and overall culture become toxic, making it almost impossible for the shareholder to crack the code and make good decisions. They fail to derive top performance from employees or lead them towards excellence.
Now is the time for the question of the hour: How can leaders get honest feedback from others? The answer is simple but comprehensive. To be completely honest, the real shift has to be made in the culture.
You have to create a culture that is organic and trustworthy. The staff has to be given the reassurance (with examples) that they can share the good insights as well as the bad and ugly without contemplating and weighing options. An open and trusting environment helps conceive cultures where honesty is rewarding. We have to implement an approach that regulates 360 Feedback.
What exactly is this 360 Feedback Process? There are four essential components needed to make the formula work. Well, you start the leaders on top, receiving direct reports from the line managers as well as business partners. Now make sure that the feedback is gathered using a survey-based tool that protects confidentiality. Also, these questions must be open-ended and numerical, and most importantly, they must be aligned with the company culture, core strategies and values.
All of these leaders must evaluate these results on a one-on-one basis and in the presence of a third party that can help them identify the right action-oriented response to handle feedback. Leaders must do a follow up with the employees by thanking them for their courageous effort. And lastly, they must end the process by sharing insights as well as development plans and priorities regarding the future.
Leadership is something that should be evident in every field and company – whether it’s a company that offers dissertation writing help to students or a hospital that caters to trauma patients, leadership is necessary and it must have all of the aforementioned traits.