Using Feedback as a Tool; The Traits of Success; Building Leadership Likability; Influence, don’t Educate

Fitting and Flourishing

Using feedback as a tool – how do you use feedback? Do you ask for it, or do you offer it? How do your employees react to feedback? A research study, run by New York University scientists, found that telling people they are receiving or giving feedback is a great way to put people on edge. Using challenging scenarios and heart-rate monitors, they found subjects in the study felt equally anxious offering feedback and receiving it.

Done well, though, feedback is a significant tool for growth. This fascinating article assesses and explains how to effectively use feedback, through some in-depth studies into how it works best. Here are some key takeaways, but it is worth reading the entire lengthy article.

Why feedback matters – representing valuable information from our environment, feedback is important in the process of growth and flourishing
Feedback is tied in with our survival instincts – though most of us no longer have to fend off predators, our brains are still exquisitely attuned to threats. Feedback conversations as they are often conducted today activate this social threat response.
Why asking for feedback works – when people ask for feedback, they feel greater autonomy and because they are in the driver’s seat, they can steer the conversation where it’ll be most useful. Givers feel more certainty because they have clearer guidelines for the kind of feedback they should give.
Creating a culture of feedback – developing a model of feedback should start with small acts. The NYU team suggest leaders begin by asking for feedback on low-stakes topics, such as the temperature in the office or how people felt about yesterday’s lunch. The point is to get people used to giving feedback that was asked for.
Making feedback a habit – more regular interactions mean askers get more comfortable asking, givers get more comfortable giving, and both gain experience in seeing how to fill the opposite role when the time comes.

By using feedback effectively, organisations can tilt their culture toward continuous improvement; smarter decision making and stronger, more resilient teams that can adapt as needed. How would you rate your organisation’s feedback maturity?

Read the full article here

The traits of success – this year, Inc. and Gallup conducted a detailed study of close to 200 entrepreneurs from the Inc. 5000.

Over 37 years, com­panies on the Inc. 5000 have undergone seismic shifts in industries and business models. But one key element hasn’t changed: the calibre of the founders. There is something distinctive about how such people think and act and perhaps most importantly, react, in the process of company building.

The study results strongly suggest that the 5000 are, in fact, unusually gifted.The top-ranked strength is risk-taking – not excessive risk tolerance, but rather managing the vagaries of risk. Ten key strengths were identified as exclusive to these high achievers. Here’s an insight into the first five strengths;

Knowledge: expertise deployed to secure competitive advantage, always striving to acquire in-depth information about organisation and industry
Delegation: assigning tasks to others, proactively collaborate, ensure team members contribute
Independence: depend only on self to get the job done, can manage every aspect of an organisation
Confidence: self-belief, know yourself, know others, take initiative
Relationships: high social awareness, build mutually beneficial relationships

Whilst not everyone thinks of themselves or their team as entrepreneurs, in a fast-moving market, entrepreneur traits that promote ideation, innovation and taking action are valuable in any business. Which of these strengths can you develop in your team?

Discover all 10 strengths in the full article here.

Building leadership likability – if you are actively working with your emerging leaders, one of the key lessons to teach is likability.

New leaders need to learn that authority does not equate to influence and earn the trust and respect of their team through connection. When people like and believe in their leader, they’re much more willing to work together and make things happen.

Forbes Coaches Council offer 10 ways to build your “likability” and influence as a leader. Here are the first five ways;

Be clear and courageous in your actions – working with someone who is transparent and courageous in their actions tends to build a following more quickly.
Let them know why they should follow you – if you communicate the benefits and costs of following you, people can self-select and adapt. There are no dream jobs or managers, just good selection and fit.
Just be effective – define your mission, clarify your purpose and define business goals for your group.
Be relatable and share your ‘Whys’ – share a story with your team that will answer these questions: Why are you doing this work? Why should the work you’re doing matter to your target market?
Be genuine and observant – relationships are built one conversation or one action at a time. Focus on listening, not just to words but also emotions. Be empathic; don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Read the full article here

Influence, don’t educate – how often do you leave a meeting wondering if your presentation actually made a difference? Cultivate these four speaking habits to shift your position from educator to influencer.

Don’t just dump the data, connect the facts – as a leader, you can’t assume that your listeners will have your level of knowledge of specific topics, or your understanding of what the numbers mean to the company. You need to demonstrate that.
Speak from the heart, not a script – preparation is essential, but if you want your listeners to see you as a leader, give up the script. You need to be raw, honest, and convince people that you’re speaking from the heart.
Ditch the technical jargon and use simple, plain language – as a leader, being clear and simple trumps being verbose. Use simple language and get your point across in as few words as possible.
Use images to make your audience feel smart – accompany your presentation with compelling images that your audience can match to your words and easily work out and understand.

Find the full article here.

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Rob's Insights

Each fortnight, Rob’s Insights delivers you ideas, resources, articles, trends, and best practices needed to lead and grow your organisation. It’s topical and to the point, and best of all it’s free.