“I wish somebody had told me early on in my professional (and personal) life, what I needed to work on to improve. I never knew how I was coming across, or what others were saying about me when I left the room. I only found out the hard way.“
“I asked for feedback and no one told me the truth. I thought everything was going great until I was called into the board meeting and lost my position.”
“I wanted a mentor. Mentors help you navigate your career, warn you about company politics and give tough feedback. It was too late and my career stalled before I had a chance.”
What do these leaders have in common? They were unaware of what went wrong. Their own instincts and self-awareness was not enough – they needed greater insight. Understanding the impact one has in professional and social situations is a career asset. Unfortunately, many aspiring leaders lack clarity about how their behaviors and actions are perceived and interpreted by others. Sadly when perceptions are negative, more often than not, leaders receive little or no specific feedback from supervisors, peers or direct reports and feel blindsided when the truth comes out.
When successful leaders are asked what has most helped their careers, a frequent response is feedback. Feedback is indeed the breakfast of champions. While some leaders assume that no feedback is good feedback, those who thrive solicit constructive feedback and receive it from multiple sources. Yet, even when asked, some colleagues gloss over irritating and/or derailing behaviors. They fear offering that “negative” and “improvement” feedback may lead to relationship breakdowns or a confrontation. Supervisors, who are ineffective at giving immediate feedback, tend to wait until the end of things (the year, a project, etc.) to offer difficult messages instead of being direct. Others drop hints or give nonverbal cues that individuals miss all together. Effective feedback is given when a leader has a choice to act on it and change behavior while it is still going on.
There is power in learning to see ourselves as others do. Within fast-paced companies, we find that using a formal multi-rater feedback process offers new insights and accelerates development. Innolect’s latest tool, Compact 360, is customized to the individual and offers a quick, cost-effective behavioral feedback package.
To learn more, contact Kittie Watson.