A CLIENT who is also a senior leader within his company said “a significant part of a leader’s success has to do with behaviour — his own behaviour and the behaviour of others in his team”.
Most leaders I know would agree with this. However, knowing the impact of one’s behaviour on another is not always an easy thing to do.
While we can observe other people’s behaviour quite easily, we can’t really see the effect of our behaviour on someone else unless we get feedback from them.
This is why leadership feedback surveys are very useful in giving individual leaders behavioural pinpoints on minor adjustments they can make to be more effective.
And the key word here is minor. While it is a daunting thing to get feedback from your employees about your behaviour, it is actually a very powerful thing when a leader asks for feedback and acts upon it.
This shows the people in his team that he is interested in what they have to say and that he will do what it takes.
Usually the feedback is not about the obvious things that even the leader knows about, but about little, easy-to-fix things that can be handled almost immediately.
Leaders should be proactive and ask team members if they have any feedback for them. By finding out what they want her to stop doing, start doing and continue doing, the leader can make adjustments to her own behaviour.
A leader I worked with long ago once said to me: “If three or more people tell you that you have a tail, then maybe its time to turn around and see if you have a tail!”
I like this analogy, because we sometimes tend to ignore the feedback that is coming to us.
A good thing to remember is that any behaviour that occurs within a team as a “team pattern” is because it is getting reinforced at some level by the leader.
Those in leadership roles set the tone for the desirable and undesirable behaviours that occur within the team. This is the “bitter pill” that many leaders find hard to swallow.
But we all have blind spots. Not everyone who reports to us has the courage to tell us what we should “stop doing”. And when someone has the courage to tell us, how we respond will decide whether they will tell us again.
I see it as a gift of love, when someone cares enough to tell me not just the things I am great at doing but also the things that can make me greater and take my work to the next level.
More is expected of leaders today than in the past. We can extend our leadership influence and pave the way for the future by being more transparent and by being willing to let our team members help us lead better.
Article by Laletha Nithiyanandan, the managing director of the Behavioural Consulting Group, which specialises in utilising behavioural science principles to improve performance and productivity within organisations. She is also the managing director of Talent Design Potential (TDP-Asia) specialising in executive search. For more information, read Lita’s blog at www.everydaytransformations.com