By the time the first lunchtime rolled around it felt like we had already made great progress. We’d learned some new insights about each other and the three teams put together had developed a charter for the work they will do together over the coming months.
In the afternoon we focussed on ourselves. We learned quite a bit about ourselves from the leadership tools used, including powerful 360 feedback.
Not all feedback is easy to receive, but all the leaders on our Programme received very positive comments as well as work ons. Most people focus on the work ons without paying too much attention to the good stuff.
The two days felt quite relaxed but you can never underestimate what’s going on when you put aside two days to start of journey of discovery. At the conclusion of the two days there were lots of commentson how special it is to have time out to reflect.
It’s very tempting to keep piling content into leadership development. The art is to have sufficient for stimulus, but leave plenty of time for reflection and self-work.
When it’s relaxed there’s a good chance you’ve got the balance about right.
Getting feedback can be tough. As leaders we welcome it, embrace it, even ask for it, sometimes via formal systems like a 360.
But sometimes it’s not easy. Working with a new team, a different boss or chair, or, unfortunately, not exhibiting the behaviours others expect of us, can lead to some unpleasant reading.
I always encourage people to prepare for written feedback by preparing for reflection, ensuring they have the context in their head, have some support available, but above all, seek to find the real “juice”. Most people who give feedback do so with the best of intentions to help us. Not everything said will calibrate, but there’s almost always something in it that you can find and own.
Yes, own. Own that feedback, return the love, thank the givers and start planning on making changes.
When a team is struggling to connect, a bit of courage from everyone involved can make all the difference.
On some recent leadership development work, instead of the participants recording their reflections in private notebooks, everyone put their reflections on flipcharts in the open area.
It took courage and having courage can mean taking a risk. This new process was not without risk and even one team member not being ready could have derailed it.
But this team plainly was ready, and so we took it a step further and had the team members record feedback on each others’ flipcharts.
In doing so, a permanent and meaningful record of a crucible event was created.
I heard after the session that the team has already made great strides.
I’m calling this new process ReflectBackᵗᵐ. I would welcome the opportunity to use it with your team to cut through challenges you’re having. Yes, you do need to be brave and I suggest not using it without supervision.
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One of the blogs that came up this week on the WordPress site where this blog is posted was headed “Unofficial start to Summer”. Driving home this evening late the outside temperature reading was 9. Not what I’d call the unofficial or any other type of start to Summer.
Of course it’s all about perspectives and living south of the equator – a fair way south – our perspective is very much Winter calling.
Recently I had a bout of chest infection with coughing that seemed to go on an on. Perhaps all that flying and mixing with strangers in the compressed environment wasn’t so good for me afterall! Winter is definitely on the way and I notice myself feeling ever so slightly morose when it’s dark early and cold. Why is that? I have heating, and it always gets dark at some point anyway. So why should the blackening sky blacken the mood.
I’ve noticed it in the past, but for some reason been more conscious of it this year. Perceptions can greatly impact how we feel about each other and often those perceptions are right. If I’m told I appear stressed (like I was today!) then there’s a good chance I was. Or the perception might be wrong, but it’ll be a good excuse for a conversation between colleagues.
So how about an unofficial start to feedback with a comment about perceptions? You don’t need to accuse or state anything. Just “My perceptions is that you appear……..” – you fill in the blank which might be happy/anxious/overworked/mindful/unfocussed – and see where it takes you. If it doesn’t fire, it’s unofficial, so no harm done.