Saturday, February 17, 2007

Feedback: Acting On It Or Parking It?

def. knowledge of the results of any behavior, considered as influencing or modifying further performance.

Feedback....are you acting on it or parking it?

Leadership is changing from 'power based' to 'human based. I see organizations move towards interactive dialogue as opposed to bosses dictating what the staff will do, i.e. 'no ifs ands or buts'. When people in management roles aren’t managing as well as they could, they are often asked to do a 360º feedback exercise to determine their strengths and weaknesses. All too often the results are a surprise, if not shocking. What’s done with these results will determine how successful leadership is.

Feedback should be acted upon, not just shared and forgotten. Much too often I see a manager look to his/her leader to help them evolve into leadership within the organization only to hear "You’re not leader material" or "There’s no way your staff would want you to be promoted. They complain to me all the time about your leadership style or lack of." What has the leader done with that feedback? Validated it? Investigated it? Or had a conversation with the individual about it? Usually not.

Leadership doesn’t mean be in charge when everything is working perfectly and ignore the rest. Leadership means helping people evolve, wrap their heads around the vision of the organization and grow their talents at the same time. It doesn’t mean ignore what isn’t working until you have an issue on your hands that has to be fixed and fast!

Some Tips:

  • If you send a staffer for 360º feedback, do yourself and everyone else a favor and arrange to have a coach step in to work on the discovered weaknesses and strengths otherwise the individual who went through the exercise will just make excuses for poor results without doing much about it. Or, worse case scenario, go on stress leave because they couldn’t handle the results.

  • Figure out why you’re arranging for a 360º feedback in the first place. Is it to grow individuals into positions of higher leadership or to fix a problem? You need to first determine what you want out of this and what you’re going to do to get it. The 360º is just a tool, not a magic wand.

  • Lastly, once you’ve seen the results, what assumptions might you have been making that you’ve acted upon as fact? If you act on assumptions, they will become true. But I’ll leave that for another blog.

Donna Karlin

No comments: