Recruiting others to help you implement long-term changes in your leadership behavior.
When said so plainly it makes perfect sense and seems simple, but it certainly isn’t easy—changing one’s behavior never is. Here are four steps that I’ve learned from working with my clients that will help you engage others and learn from their insights about your behavior as you seek to enhance your effectiveness as a leader.
Gather the Information You Need to Gain a Deeper Perspective. Choose people who you respect to give you feedback about your key strengths, key opportunities to improve, and what one behavior should you alter, start, or stop. Identify the two top themes—or the two most important things you want to work on—over the next 30 days.
Choose Key People You Want to Engage to Help You Make the Change. There isn’t one right way to choose whom you choose. What is more important is that you decide who can give you constructive input, be fair and candid, and be willing to let go of the past and evaluate improvement in your behavior from today forward. Be sure to request their participation—not demand it.
Make Your Choice and Implement Their Suggestions. Review all the suggestions with an open mind, and in the spirit with which they were given, to help you become a better leader. Choose several of the suggestions and create your action plan for the next 30 days. Share what you’re doing with that cadre of people you have selected, and let them know you will be checking in with them to ask for feedback.
Seek Their Feedback About How You Are Doing. Over the course of the next 30 days, reach out informally to those in your cadre and ask if they have noticed an improvement in the areas that you set out to change. Listen to what they have to say. If there were improvements, keep doing what you said you would do, and if they report no change, ask yourself three questions: What did you set out to do? What actually happened? And what do I need to do differently in the next 30 days? Once you answer those questions, give it a try for another 30 days and seek their feedback at the end of that timeframe.
Remember that changing behavior isn’t easy—successful change comes over time and requires your commitment to changing the behavior and replacing it with new behaviors that become routine practice for you. Change isn’t instant, but you can certainly increase your odds of success by engaging others who have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.