There are steps you can take to understand your blind spots and increase your self-awareness. Most leaders do not take the time to solicit feedback from their stakeholders on their leadership effectiveness and as a result, operate without management perceptions. Use these 4 steps to create your action plan for success.
1. Solicit feedback and suggestions from two peers and two direct reports.
If you have areas you are interested in developing, ask for suggestions to help you. For example, suppose Susan wanted to improve her performance management of her team. She can approach a peer, Tim, and ask him to provide her with specific actions she could take in the next 30 days to help her improve her performance management of her team members. If you don’t ask, your peers and team won’t offer advice. If you ask them, they will help!
2. Develop 2-3 goals and actions you would want to take to increase your leadership effectiveness.
Use the SMART method of goal setting for development goals. For example, suppose Robert wanted to “Build a highly effective team” as one of his goals. Here is how he could create his action plans:
Development Goal – Build a Highly Effective Team
- Develop standards and competencies for each key role and evaluate/select future leaders based on these factors. Upgrade the hiring profile. Complete by 3/1
- Complete the talent evaluation, identifying where we have skill gaps or mismatches, and take appropriate actions. Complete by 4/1
- Develop a competency development plan for each direct report. Ask each direct report to complete a development plan on their team members. Provide my evaluations as input to their plans. Review their progress in the plan implementation quarterly. Complete by 5/1
- Implement a monthly lead team meeting that will focus on performance and goals, helping the team members hold each other accountable and creating expectations for teamwork. Complete by 5/1
- In team meetings, assign the roles of timekeeper, facilitator, and scribe. Publish the notes and use these to follow up in the next monthly meetings. Complete by 5/1
- Conduct mid-year review with lead team and evaluate all talent in the organization, high potential development, and performance issues. Leave with plans to improve. Complete by 7/1
3. Seek feedback and suggestions quarterly about your leadership effectiveness and opportunities to improve your performance.
Review and revise the development plan as required based on the feedback you receive. If possible, contact HR regarding the possibility of taking a leadership assessment. These effective leadership development tools are a great way to solicit anonymous feedback for leaders.
4. Identify and attend any company-sponsored or external training that is relevant to your ongoing development.
Some companies offer leadership development training or the ability to hire an external executive coach. Take advantage of these company sponsored programs, even if the program is one you’ve participated in before, because it is always good to review the material and focus on new areas to develop. If your company does not offer any leadership training, consider hiring an executive leadership advisor yourself. Working with an executive coach, even for a short time, will help you focus on improving those blindspots and learning the techniques necessary to be successful.
In addition, seek challenging assignments and volunteer for special projects and task forces which provide you exposure to different parts of the business and senior leaders.
By taking these steps you can improve your leadership impact and performance and help build your career potential. As long as you subscribe to the fact that development is self-motivated you will do well throughout your career.