How Good Leaders Get Valuable, Candid, and Critical Feedback

Today I came across a short but interesting article from Harvard Business Review about how effective leaders get honest, critical feedback from their co-workers.

The article’s author, Ron Carucci, argues that you don’t need to have a formal 360 evaluation system to get valuable feedback; in fact, the author argues, due to anonymity a 360 evaluation system often strains workplace relationships and serves as a “replacement” for good communication rather than an “instigator” of it.  Instead, according to the author, a good leader can get valuable, honest, and critical feedback by looking for — and paying attention to — information that already exists:

Ask co-workers to “push back.”  By soliciting dissent, a leader is more likely to hear the truth about what it’s like to work for him or her.

Read non-verbal cues.  By looking for contradictions between someone’s words and their body language, you improve your overall perception of what’s really happening.

Monitor how you narrate the story.  Pay attention to how your “inner voice” is narrating the events around you and force yourself to consider other narratives as a check against possible biases.

Know your triggers and encourage others to call them out.  Good leaders know that they have buttons that can get pushed.  Let your co-workers know that you are aware of your buttons and what triggers them.  Make it comfortable for your co-workers to speak up when they see evidence that you’ve been triggered.

You can read the full article from Harvard Business Review here.

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