Classroom training and workshops are great for learning. However, growth as a leader best occurs on the job, if you are intentional about it.
The question you have to ask: How can I improve my game?
Who do you ask?
When do you ask?
There should be a constant dialogue in one-on-ones (more on your one-on-one meetings) about how to improve your game. While you can’t help but discuss the day-to-day tasks, your individual conversations should focus on growth and development for both of you.
As a leader you’re evaluated all the time. Unfortunately you don’t always get the benefit of those evaluations. Hearing those evaluations increases self-awareness and allows you to make a conscious effort to improve.
So, ask. It’s easy to become complacent. Especially for a leader it’s hard for people to provide feedback unless you ask for it. And an added bonus – being comfortable asking for feedback sets the tone for constant improvement.
Let’s deal with a common paradox. A valid concern is the potential to appear weak and vulnerable. The days of the omnipotent ruler are gone. By showing your willingness to improve, you are actually exhibiting strength.
What happens when you hear something difficult?
One leader we work with asked for feedback from his team. He received some consistent feedback across the board that he was scattered and seemed to always change priorities. He was a bit surprised by this feedback.
Since he was genuinely interested in growing he was prepared and wasn’t defensive. He began an introspective look at why he may appear scattered and what he could do about it.
While he wasn’t defensive, in the continuing conversations he explained some of the pressures from above and why he was jumping from priority to priority. Together he and the team developed a better planning process and a structure for communicating that provides context. Since the team was engaged in working on this problem they now felt comfortable calling out the leader if he strayed from the framework they established together.
We come back to a common theme. Working together to improve. The all-important desire for employee engagement is naturally occurring here.
To do this week: Ask the question in one of your team member meetings this week. Just listen and absorb. The goal is for both of you to feel comfortable with the subject. You can progress from there.
Let me know how it’s goes. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.