The Leadership Challenge is my chosen leadership model and toolkit. It has provided me with the tools I need to support leadership learning with my clients for the past decade. According to The Leadership Challenge, there are thirty specific leadership behaviours that leaders need to demonstrate in order to be extraordinary leaders. As you may well know these behaviours are measured in The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), the leadership assessment tool that has been used around the world by over three million people. In the data that comes out of these LPI results, and in my own consulting practice, there are a few behaviours that leaders struggle with more than others.
One challenging behaviour for leaders relates to asking others for feedback about their leadership abilities. This is a critical part of your leadership learning because once you complete the LPI and a leadership workshop, you need to know how you are doing in terms of your improvement. You need those who experience your leadership on a daily basis to give you feedback on how you are doing. Luckily, this is not hard to do. You just need to ask people simple questions like:
1. What could I do better or differently to make your work more effective?
2. In what ways does my leadership enhance or detract from what you are trying to accomplish in your work?
3. How can I continue to improve my leadership?
In terms of opportunities to ask these questions try:
1. At the end of a meeting (one-on-one and team meetings)
2. During performance reviews with your direct reports (if it is not already a standard question…add it)
3. Ask someone to have a cup of coffee so that you can ask them for some feedback.
Feel free to warn someone that you are going to ask for this feedback. That will allow them to prepare. Be prepared for blank stares the first time you ask these questions as people may be wondering about ulterior motives. That’s why it is important to make this a standard part of your leadership behaviour. It may be the second or third time that you ask when your colleague finally tells all. Don’t forget to say, “Thank You!”