The idea that “Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions” applies as much to leadership performance and growth as it does to improving cash flow, reducing receivables, increasing the sales close rate or decreasing service delivery cycle times. If we truly want to improve leadership performance, we must assess it and provide feedback about it in the same way we measure the more objective aspects of organizational performance. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t measure leadership performance and, hence, rarely provide the quality feedback leaders need to grow and excel.
In fact, leaders may get the worst feedback about their performance as leaders of any people inside organizations. Why? The people in the best position to provide feedback about the leader’s performance as a leader are the people being led. Unfortunately, that creates a couple substantial barriers to providing leaders feedback:
- Most companies never ask them for their feedback and thoughts.
- They have a built in bias against providing frank, open, honest feedback – they don’t want to risk upsetting their bosses who control vital aspects of their work lives such as compensation, access to career opportunities and goal assignments. Even if they have a great relationship, most people would prefer to not rock the boat. If the relationship is negative to begin with…fuhgetaboutit! For the sake of career preservation, few employees will provide even mild criticism to help their leaders improve.
This creates an interesting dilemma for many organizations:
- Everyone believes outstanding leadership is critical.
- Developing outstanding leadership requires that leaders get timely, accurate feedback about their performance as leaders.
But, because of the inherent barriers, leaders may get little quality, actionable feedback.
The result can be inconsistent, highly variable leadership. Some leaders naturally are very effective at what they do. Some leaders are successful in some situations, but don’t know what contributes to that success. When the situation changes, their effectiveness disappears yet they don’t know why. Other leaders, many with great potential, just whither without the feedback needed to improve. Fortunately, the challenge can be resolved. An effective, 360-degree feedback process can provide leaders with timely, accurate actionable data. Further, the data can be anonymously gathered from the perspective of those being led.
We have been helping clients build 360-degree feedback processes since 1990 (long before most people had even heard of, or thought about, collecting such feedback). We have standard, off-the-shelf, well-tested survey instruments. We also help our clients develop custom surveys to fit their specific needs. If you’re interested in 360 Feedback for yourself or for your organization, contact us. We can provide you samples of our survey instruments, feedback reports and feedback guide. Then, we can talk about your specific needs.