Tag Archive for: feedback

How do you view the concept of accountability? Some people view accountability positively.  They see it as an opportunity to grow personally and to improve professionally. Others view accountability negatively.  When accountability is viewed from the top down or as mandated responsibility, people feel micromanaged or like someone is looking over their shoulder. 

Trust and Accountability

Think about it for a moment. How do you best fulfill your commitments? I’m guessing that where you do not trust the people around you, you are not motivated to be your best. But where you experience trust, clear expectations, and frequent updates you gladly give it all you have. 

Reflect upon what you want or need regarding accountability. Consider the following: 

1. Lead by example and hold yourself accountable first.

As a leader, you set the attitude for the people you lead. They will follow your lead. If you are continuously showing up late for meetings, missing deadlines, and not owning up to your mistakes, the people you are leading will do the same. 

If you want the best out of the people you lead:

  • Complete your work or assignments by the timeline you agreed upon
  • Respect everyone’s time by showing up prepared and on time
  • Make the effort to support your team when needed. 

2. Work on your feedback skills.

One of the most important things you do as a leader is to provide feedback. Feedback is necessary, even when it is not easy to give.  Most people want to learn and grow personally and to improve and succeed professionally. So, even negative feedback is better than no feedback at all. When you offer feedback on a regular or continual basis (including positive feedback), it makes tough feedback much easier to give and receive. You also honor relationships and develop trust when people are not surprised by the feedback they are receiving. 

Brené Brown writes, “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential. As a leader, your feedback comes from a place of genuinely wanting to help someone grow. Remember that “clear is kind.” Your feedback should not be ambiguous. 

3. Recognize that procrastination is not helpful

When you procrastinate providing feedback, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. People want feedback, healthy and frequent feedback. When there are issues, address them in a timely manner. They rarely resolve themselves. In fact, when you don’t address them, they usually get bigger. It is easier to deal with the issue as soon as possible for you, for the person to whom you are providing the feedback, and to the people who are depending on you as their leader.  Remind yourself of this often.

4. Make accountability a habit

Setting up a reminder to give and to ask for feedback as part of every meeting. This will help ensure that feedback flows consistently. Make time to meet with individuals on a regular basis for one-to-one conversation and use meetings as a way to celebrate the ongoing work of the people involved. Both the one-to-one meetings and the group meetings are opportunities to practice accountability by making it a habit. each meeting agenda 

5. Recognize and celebrate progress

The most motivating of all forms of feedback is praise for good work. Identify, celebrate, and learn from successes. It motivates people to do their best and creates responsibility role models for others to follow.

When Feedback is Difficult

When you find providing feedback, as an accountable leader difficult, consider finding a coach to assist you in your leader development. Your coach will help you:

  • Address successes, challenges, ideas for improvement, and ways to integrate ongoing learning and development.
  • Recognize development and growth opportunities for the people you lead. When you develop healthy relationships and stay in close contact with the people around you, you know where their gaps are and where the potential lies.
  • Develop empathy and compassion. When people feel cared for, they are more likely to be responsible. When they feel neglected, they are not motivated. Criticism and threats only discourage healthy relationships and accountability.
  • Provide positive feedback. Most people say the most memorable recognition they ever received was from a high-level leader. Remember, praise for good work is a powerful leadership tool. 

Model Accountability

As a leader, you can’t force people to develop a meaningful sense of accountability. But you can create the atmosphere that promotes commitment and responsibility by modeling accountability. Develop relationships, communicate clearly, and give frequent updates. 

So, how do you view the concept of accountability? The people around you are taking their cues from you.  What is one thing you will do this week to model accountable leadership? Maybe you can think of it this way, “How do I want to grow personally and improve professionally?” Remember, who you are is how you lead. 

When you need and want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at connect@transformingmission.org. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader.

Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this week, Sara Thomas and I continue our discussion on Accountable Leadership. If you have not been a LeaderCast listener, you want to start with this one. Check out Episode 175 of LeaderCast. This is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the challenges of 2021. Again, who you are is how you lead. 

Have you ever seen the digital “Your Speed” signs alongside the road? The sign tells you how fast you are going as you drive past. Now, you have that information on your speedometer, but having it projected at you from a different angle allows you to receive the information in a unique way.  The sign is designed to help you alter your speed. By gathering information and presenting it in a relevant way, the assumption is that you will receive the information and respond with positive action.

Your Speed Signs

Most of us are more effective in life and leadership when we know where we stand and where we are going. It is the feedback along the way that helps us make the adjustments that assist us into living into who we are created to be. Feedback, even if it is information you already know, helps you alter your behavior in a positive way.

To fully develop a healthy self-awareness, it is important to understand how you are perceived by the people with whom you live, work, and associate on a daily basis. In a constructive and beneficial way, these people are “Your Speed” signs.

Your Response to Feedback

Bill George, in his book Discover Your Truth North, tells the story of Kroger CEO David Dillon. Dillon, in telling his experience regarding feedback, says, “Feedback helps you take the blinders off, face reality, and see yourself as you really are.” 

He admits that his natural reaction to feedback is defensiveness. He attributes this to how he copes with negative information.  Now, you and I know that it can be tough to hear negative things about ourselves. But Dillon makes a point to tell colleagues that he appreciates their input despite how it may make him feel. Just because something is uncomfortable, does not mean it’s wrong. It takes maturity to graciously accept feedback that you would rather not hear.

Receiving Feedback

To grow as an effective leader, you need others to help give you information from a different angle so you can receive it, reflect upon it, and respond to it in positive ways. To be truly self-aware you must know how your behavior affects others.

Now, how do you set up “Your Speed” signs? How do you solicit feedback and interpret it in a way that allows you to respond with positive action?

Mistakes We Make Around Feedback

One way to solicit information is to ask people with whom you work to give you anonymous written feedback. Although this will provide you with information upon which you can reflect and respond, it does two things that are not helpful.  

First, we tend to think that anonymity allows people to be more honest in their feedback. The reality is anonymity feeds the mistrust that creates a culture of fear. As a leader, you want to create a culture of trust through vulnerability and transparency. Anonymous information falls short of creating a culture of trust. 

Second, we tend to make anonymous information at the end of the process.  The purpose of the exercise is not to collect information but to help you become more the person and the leader you are created to be. 

The information is a means to an end, a tool to assist you in your self-awareness. The purpose is for you to receive feedback that helps you become more the person and the leader you are created to be.

Open and Honest Feedback

With that in mind, true feedback is best provided in open conversations with people who are honest in their offerings. The conversation is with trusted friends and colleagues who desire to support you and who want you to be the best human being as well the best leader you can be.   

So, a better way to solicit information is to ask three to five persons, who you trust, to help you. You want at least three people, preferably five, because you will receive more reliable feedback. 

It is one thing to receive feedback from one person, but it is another to receive the exact same feedback from three, four, or five different people. If a larger number of trusted friends and colleagues are telling you the same thing about your behavior, you are more likely to make a positive change.

Four Steps for Receiving Feedback

Here are four steps for getting feedback on how your behaviors are affecting others.

1. Ask for feedback.

This is your opportunity to gather information. Invite 3 to 5 people to assist you in becoming the best leader you can be.  These people are people who you trust, who have your best interest in mind, and who have a good understanding of you, your work style, and how you interact with others. They are people who care about you. Because of Your trust relationship, these people are people who will be honest with you.  

Tasha Eurich, in her book, Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think, writes, “Feedback from one person is a perspective; feedback from two people is a pattern; but feedback from three or more people is likely to be as close to a fact as you can get.”

You can either have them gather as a group or you can interact with each person individually. Just remember, the people you are inviting to offer feedback are trusted friends, colleagues, and family members who want you to succeed. People you trust and who will be honest with you. 

2. Gather your information. 

This is your opportunity to receive feedback. At this point, it is best to focus on a few things rather than everything. So, ask the following questions, one at a time. Give people time to think and to respond.

  • What am I currently doing well that demonstrates my skills as a leader?
  • What are examples of growth you have observed in me since we began working together?
  • What is one thing, if I did it at an improved level, that would have a positive impact on my leadership? 

At this point, your responsibility is to listen. Listen with your mind and heart for understanding.  Listen to receive the information. Take notes for your time of reflection. Give yourself permission not to defend yourself or to interrupt those giving feedback to clarify what you are hearing.  Remember, these people have your best interest in mind. Presume positive intent and stay neutral as you gather and receive the feedback.

3. Receive, reflect, and respond.

First, receive the feedback with grace. This information is for you and your improvement. This is your opportunity to grow in your self-awareness. Keep in mind you have asked trusted friends and colleagues to assist you. Each person cares for you and has your best interest in mind.  

Second, reflect upon the feedback you have received. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I learning about myself?
  • How do others perceive my work style?
  • How do others perceive my interaction with the people around me?”

Third, respond to the feedback you have received. Keep in mind the following:

  • This is not a time to be defensive, to shut down, or to dismiss what you are learning.
  • Take notes and remember what you are feeling when you receive the feedback.
  • Name the emotions you are experiencing. Be specific. It is important to name your feelings.
  • Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to be the person I want to be?”

4. Thank the people who have assisted you in gathering your feedback. 

Gratitude is important in developing self-awareness.

  • Share with them how the feedback has been helpful.
  • Share how you will use the feedback. What are one or two steps you plan to take?
  • If you are not ready to share specific steps, make a commitment to get back to each person at a later time.  Be specific regarding date and time.
  • Give each person permission to hold you accountable to your next steps. 

Set up Your Speed Sign

Growing in self-awareness is not easy.  There are no quick fixes. In fact, developing a healthy self-awareness is a lifetime process. By taking the risk to become vulnerable, by gathering feedback from others, indicates your desire to enter the process and become the leader God has created you to be.

This week, set up “Your Speed” sign?  What one step will you take to receive the feedback you need to become the person and leader for this time in history? 

When you want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at connect@transformingmission.org. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader.

Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this month, Sara and I are talking with leaders about self-awareness. This week we have a conversation with Barry Burns. Check out our conversation in Episode 170 of LeaderCast. This is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the challenges of 2021. Remember, who you are is how you lead.