Lessons in Leadership: Discover Your Blind Spots with Feedback

What’s in your blind spot? Are you getting the feedback you need to be successful? Are you frustrated with your career stalling? What helps leaders get promoted and deliver higher results was candid and direct feedback about their leadership from bosses, peers and employees. This feedback was channeled into effective development programs with specific actions to overcome their blind spots, thus leading them to promotions and career success.

cps_leadership_feedback

For leaders at the top of any organization, feedback is a rarity. Executives seldom get feedback about their leadership style, annoying behaviors, personality quirks, or other actions that make it challenging for them and their team members to be successful. While debriefing a leader I was coaching, he expressed that what he most liked about the coaching process was receiving unbiased and direct feedback. After he received feedback on his leadership behavior and style, he was able to address the blind spots identified and make successful leadership improvements in just 3 months.

Current corporate news are full of stories about CEOs who are terminated or resign due in part to performance issues, errors in judgment and other potential blind spots. The costs of these high-profile departures to shareholders have been documented to be tens of millions of dollars. Mark Hurd, former HP CEO in 2011, and Brian Dunn, former Best Buy CEO in 2012, were terminated due to poor judgment about their personal behaviors.  Another example of an ex-CEO with a blind spot is Jeff Kindler, who was let go from Pfizer after a mutiny of senior leaders.  Jeff’s leadership issues (bullying, intimidation, etc.) seemed to go on for years without any required change.

When I read these career epitaphs, I always wonder if they were getting unbiased and objective feedback about their leadership issues and blind spots. My guess is nobody had the courage to confront them and as a result, everybody ends up suffering. Learn from these public failures and ask your peers, team members and bosses for feedback on how you can improve as a leader.

Leadership skills development

Increasing Employee Engagement And Retention

cps_improve_employee_engagement

New research from the Ashridge Business School in the UK was just released. This research, commissioned by Engage for Success, interviewed several CEOs on the topic of employee engagement and found some issues preventing companies from establishing high engaged workforces. While the report focused on the U.K. economy and business culture, there are definitely lessons for leaders in other areas of the world.

Some of the highlights from the research shows:

  • CEOs may lack an emotional connection to engagement due to a fear of feedback or resistance to sharing power
  • Leaders may be so intensely focused on bottom line results that they don’t buy in to employee engagement
  • Some executive leaders may genuinely lack awareness of employee engagement and how to improve it
  • The company’s hierarchy, system and culture may lack the necessary support for employee engagement

Several of their findings resonate with research in the U.S. about some of the barriers CHROs face in driving higher levels of employee engagement. Increasing employee engagement is a universal concern for all organizations and only when leaders are willing to take the time to analyze and identify what needs to be done can steps be taken to improve employee engagement.