Friday, July 5, 2013

It Can Be Lonely at the Top…Build in Executive Feedback Loops

Many senior executives find themselves isolated.

Because of their superior position, they miss out on opportunities for the feedback that once helped guide their behavior. Unless they are part of a well designed Action Learning Leadership Development Program, they are unlikely to receive the constructive criticism that would help them continually improve.

Why?

Either their subordinates are reluctant to offend or may not trust that feedback is welcome or even wanted. Additionally, once you reach the upper echelons of business, egos and a fear of losing turf minimize a leader’s ability to receive helpful performance feedback.

And yet, senior executives, like all their employees, would benefit from an ongoing feedback system. Here’s how to begin:

  • Simply ask for it. Your direct reports and peers observe you every day. Once you earn their trust, wouldn’t they be in a position to give you some valuable advice on how you could improve?
  • Create a task force to take a fresh look at the business. Assign a group of top managers to “begin from scratch” to create the ideal markets, product mix, talent, systems and strategy. What changes would they make to the organization?

Make these two moves and you will have developed an early-warning system for your own performance and generated some bold new ideas for the future health of the organization.

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