By Corbette Doyle and Bill Krueger

In the last column, we discussed strategies to accelerate your development, including the need to focus on things that don’t come easily.  But how do you know what those “things” are? Is it always self-evident?

She Wrote (Corbette):
Self-awareness is a hallmark of emotional intelligence and highly revered leaders, but it’s more behavior than trait, meaning it’s something you can get better at. How? First, consistently ask others for feedback. Focus less on what you did in the past and more on what you can do going forward. In particular, ask questions that will reveal your blind spots, those things others know about you but of which you are unaware. A 360-performance review, which solicits anonymous feedback from people who see your performance from different frames of reference (peers, managers, subordinates and clients), is one way to enhance your self-awareness. No access to a 360? Read Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You Therefor insight about the key things leaders need to stop doing as they move away from an individual contributor role to one where they need to motivate and coach the performance of others. You might also try the Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test to gain insight that is particularly relevant for entre and intra preneurs. If you don’t like what you hear, don’t shoot the messenger. Say “thank you,” then walk away—and reflect on what you heard (Goldsmith, 2007).

He Wrote (Bill):
Asking for feedback is intimidating and tough.  I find it is also an uncomfortable experience to deliver feedback.  For this reason it usually takes place infrequently or often only takes place when the feedback has reached a crisis moment.  No news is good news but when the boss wants to see you, it has to be bad news.  The 360 performance review is great, but it generally suffers the S.M.A.R.T. feedback attributes of being specific, relevant, and timely. As both a receiver and sender of feedback, I find that most often you have to push the feedback on the receiver and pull it from the sender.  In both cases YOU need to be the initiator.  Start out very basic at first and make a habit out of having a brief and specific dialog, debrief, about the feedback material immediately following the observable action.  Recently, I have tried to deliver short to the point e-mails or text messages minutes or seconds after my observations of deliveries to trigger follow-up discussions.  As the feedback sender, “Great job, way to stay on topic, let’s discuss some improvement ideas that could have been discussed in our next one on one.”  As the feedback requester, “Did you think my message was understood?  Can you give me some more specific feedback after the meeting?”

In the next few columns, we’ll focus on the ever-popular topics of mentors and sponsors, including the difference between the two, how to get “one of those,” how to manage the relationship(s), and how to make it/them mutually beneficial.


About the Authors:
Corbette Doyle launched her dream career as a lecturer at Vanderbilt University after corporate careers as both an intrapreneur and a Fortune 500 global chief diversity officer. William (“Bill”) Krueger is a senior executive with almost 30 years of experience in the automotive industry and a life-long student of leadership practice.