Feedback Fuels Growth

09.03.12 | Posted in Birkman Method, UnCommon Leadership

One area that challenges people in becoming great leaders is conflict management and resolution. Some of us thrive and seek out conflict and others will avoid it all costs (The Birkman assessment tells us which category you’re in!). For those, and I am one of them, that don’t like conflict, a lot happens internally to our biology when conflict arrives or even is anticipated.

Here’s a true story as an example of the last statement. I was working out the other day and had my new heart rate monitor bluetoothed to my iphone app. I was drifting along at a heart rate between 118 and 122. Then I began to play a conversation in my mind that I needed to have with a friend–one of those “crucial conversations (Patterson, et al).”  I continued to play that conversation over in my mind, thinking of ways I might deliver a tough message, but still maintain a valued friendship. I was totally focused on my internal mind conversation when my iphone app beeped. I looked down to find my heart rate had suddenly gone to 132 and was climbing. I had done nothing different with my workout and had stayed at the same pace. The heart rate climb was all about the internal conversation I was having. I immediately began to self-regulate, focused on my breathing, and stopped thinking about that challenging conversation. In less than 2 minutes, my heart rate was back to 120.

Here’s the point: without FEEDBACK I would have continued the internal dialogue, and who knows where my heart rate would have ended up!

What’s the application for leaders who want to elevate their game?

  • Feedback is crucial for anyone wanting to go to the next level of leadership.
  • It must be feedback that is non-threatening, credible and from a trusted source.
  • You should receive feedback on a regular basis as you practice, practice, practice implementing new habits and skills.

In my role as an executive coach, I often sit in on meetings and participate in off-sites with the leadership teams to watch and observe what is going on.  As a hired coach, in most situations, I am that safe, trusted advisor, and my feedback is meaningful. A business or executive coach can be a way to jump start your growth as a leader!

Much research is being done with regard to “neural leadership,” too much to cover in this quick blog.  However, we’ve known for a long time the concept of “feedback” as it relates to athletic performance, the performing arts or any skill or habit that is enhanced by having an expert or outside observer watch or listen to what we’re doing and give us advice and tips (feedback) on how to take our skill to the next level.

It’s time to add feedback to your growth plan as a leader, but make sure you get it from a trusted, expert source!

Onward & Upward!


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