Knowing Yourself First, Part II

Last week in Part I, I discussed a simple exercise to help you name your values. Expressing those core values at work is the crucial step toward leadership credibility. While having completed this exercise myself in different ways through the years, this time when writing about “I believe” and “My ideal life looks like” I made an interesting discovery: in many of my workplace experiences, I was often not expressing many of those values. Some are more important than others, and it takes conscious effort and courage to stay true to important values. When I was consciously expressing those important values, I was much more authentic. What was your experience with the exercise?

Next, we’re going to discuss another part to Knowing Yourself First, and that is feedback from others. Depending on your company and its particular development programs, you may have access to formal 360s, or something more basic. Typically, the best time to get this information is just before performance reviews so you can receive the feedback during your development discussion.

If you are an executive, you have had 360s before (the formal, exhaustive kind). However, you might consider a new one, particularly if you’ve changed roles in the last two years. Remember, self-awareness is key to effectiveness and what works with one team or business may not work as well with another.

If you are a manager, project manager or employee, the following should get you started:

  • Ask your direct manager or Human Resources Manager if you can have a 360 feedback process as part of your development. Most companies have some type of process. Whatever the tool, the key is that it’s facilitated by your boss or HR so that respondents are confident the results will remain anonymous.
  • If your company does not have a 360 process, or the 360 process is only conducted as part of formal leadership development programs, you can still get the feedback. Do “Stop, Start, Continue.”
    • Ask your boss or HR to send an email to a group of recipients that include peers, subordinates and supervisors. Also include project team members you may have worked with.
    • Have that email introduce that you are seeking feedback for development purposes, and ask the questions, “What should you stop, what should you start and what should you continue?” If your facilitator can give respondents something to put their opinion in the context of, such as a particular leadership model adopted by your company, even better.
    • Finally, have the facilitator include an open-ended question, such as, “Please give one example of when X exhibited his/her best leadership skills,” or, “Is there anything else you would like X to know about his/her leadership style?”

Armed with core values and feedback from others, you will be well on your way to Modeling the Way. Make sure and come back next week for Part III and learn how to apply your insights and inspire others in your place of work.

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