I’ve been blessed with some pretty impressive leaders in my time. Great role models who not only taught me how to lead, but showed me in action. They were the talking AND walking example. I’ve also had ones that have shown me what not to do. We all have them.
If I draw a parallel on what makes the great leaders great there is a common factor. How they treat people and how they make them feel. What stands out for me is not just how they make the high performers feel but how they make the low one feel too. They listen, they show compassion, they give their time and they ask. Yep, they ask. They ask for feedback, for advice, for their colleague’s, their team’s and their manager’s views and perspectives… of them. Irrespective of whether they are a high performer or not. They value everyone’s opinion.
Jack Zenger and Jospeh Folkmen, in a paper; ‘Overcoming Feedback Phobia: Take the First Step’ talk about the study done with 51,896 executives. The study tells us that those leaders who ranked in the top 10% in asking for feedback were rated highly by their teams and peers, in overall leadership effectiveness.
On the other side of the scale those who don’t ask for feedback are rated in the bottom 15th percentile as an effective leader. Either way, you look at. If you don’t ask for it… people notice and your leadership suffers.
Not asking people for feedback and advice from people in your world would be like a comedian delivering a gig without seeing or hearing the audiences’ reactions. They will never learn what works and what doesn’t. And it requires a lot of energy and effort to keep others engaged and make an impact.
We all have blind spots. It makes sense that one of the best ways to reduce our blind spots is to ask people for their perspective. To learn from their suggestions. To become a better version of yourself thought the gift of feedback. Because that’s what great leaders do.
When was the last time you asked for it?