Brilliant Bosses Get Feedback by Asking for It

Face it, the higher you rise in any organization the more your position will create barriers for people share their thoughts and feeling about you. Here are a few simple things that every single CEO on the planet can do. And, if you can’t take my advice, look in the mirror and ask yourself why?

 1.    Get Insight From Some of Your Direct Reports

Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left note a realistic assessment of your strengths. On the right a list of things you believe you should do better to lead the business. Meet with3-5 of your high potential future leaders (not all of which should be your direct reports) and  solicit their reaction. Explain you really need and value their input. Listen and seek to understand their perspective, asking for specifics. Whatever you do, avoid being defensive. And, never shoot the messenger. Thank them!! Encourage them to do the same.

2.    Share More About What Makes Your Tick

Think about who you really are and ask yourself the degree to which you have adequately shared your story with your direct reports. Identify aspects of your background, life experiences, etc. that you think you help others better understand how you think, process information, make decisions, lead under pressure, etc.. Share this information. A bit of humor can sometimes help to make this easier while showing your vulnerability.

3.    You Have Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason

You know what you worry about, right? Translate these worries into questions that become part of ongoing discussions with your team and individuals. Set up questions in an open manner to encourage engagement in debate. Listen and ask more questions while linking and building on thoughts you hear from individuals. Make no mistake, this is the real brilliance at work! Keep a journal of what you learned from these kinds of interactions and share it as appropriate.

4.    Nurture an Owner/Investor Perspective in All

Selected a different slice of next generation leaders and ask them to think like owners/investors. Make it real—they are the new owners. Ask them what questions they have about the future of the business, what they believe the answers might be and what action they would take if their assumptions and answers were correct. Set them loose, give them the resources they need, time-bound the activity and have them come back and share their thoughts with you and your direct reports.

So, if you finished last year feeling that you did not get meaningful feedback from your Board, create something meaningful for yourself and your organization.

Please email or comment. As always, I welcome reactions to my Blog posts. Thanks.