As a leader you are seen, heard and known whether you want to be or not. Your team sees and experiences your strengths and they also know where you need to grow. It’s also likely that they openly discuss all this. Leaders are generally a source of great interest.
I know this based upon a plethora of data and conversations. For the last 20 years I have worked with hundreds of leaders and their teams. 360-degree assessments and qualitative interviews are a standard part of the leadership development programs I design. There is often a strong correlation between the quantitative data, verbatim comments and qualitative interviews. There are always a few contradictions as well, which is understandable given the diverse needs on a team. But mostly there is a lot of agreement; the ratings and comments align well. This makes it fairly easy for the client to choose a few important development goals related to their team, work and business priorities.
I often advocate for leaders to be thoughtfully open with their team (and select others) about their development topics. I say thoughtfully because it’s important to share the goals that most impact their team’s engagement and make a positive difference on the climate they experience. There will also be topics that are best to work on more privately. When a leader is transparent about their own development they model self-awareness, confidence and vulnerability. This also makes it more likely that their team will take greater ownership of their own development needs.
Of course, if you decide to share important development goals with your team you need to show progress on your goals. It doesn’t have to be perfect to make an impact. You need to demonstrate that you are trying and your team needs to be able see and experience the changes you are making.
It should sound a little daunting. Changing our leadership habits and behaviors is challenging. They helped us achieve in the past but they may not be as effective in our current context. As a leader, you are already vulnerable. By owning, sharing and working on your development goals you are embracing reality. I call that courageous.
Welcome to Moira's blog. I write a (mostly) monthly post about the work of building better work places: people strategies, systems, teams and leaders.