Your Ultimate Leadership Feedback Loop: Their Leadership

Leaders need feedback to thrive.  If they don't constantly evaluate how they are doing as leaders, they face repeated failure.  Here is one important feedback mechanism that most leaders overlook to their detriment and that you can use immediately.

By Brent Filson - 2005

Life on our planet flourishes through feedback.  If life forms don't develop feedback loops and get good information about how well they are interacting with their world, the world eventually kills them. 
 
This holds true with leaders.  Leaders must get feedback as to how they're doing -- otherwise they won't be leaders for long. 
 
One kind of feedback is results.  After all, leaders do nothing more important than get results.  You should understand the kinds of results you're getting, if they are the right results, and if you are getting them in the right ways. 
 
There is another kind of measurement that is as important, and sometimes more important, than results.  It's a measurement most leaders overlook.  That measurement has to do not just with you but with the people you're leading.
 
To explain what that measurement is, I'll first describe a fundamental concept of how one goes about leading people to achieve results. 
 
There's a crucial difference between doing a task and taking leadership of that task that makes a world of difference in the task's accomplishment.     
 
For instance, if one is a floor sweeper, doesn't one best accomplish one's task not simply by doing floor sweeping but by taking leadership of floor sweeping?
 
Such leadership might entail:
 -- taking the initiative to order and manage supplies,
 -- evaluating the job results and raising those results to ever higher levels,
 -- having floor sweeping be an integral part of the general cleaning policy,
 -- hiring, training, developing other floor sweepers,
 -- instilling a "floor sweeping esprit"that can be manifested in training, special uniforms and insignias , behavior, etc.
 -- setting floor sweeping strategy and goals.
 
Otherwise, in a "doing" mode, one simply pushes a broom. 
 
You may say, "Listen, Brent, a job is a job is a job.  This leadership thing is making too much of not much!"
 
Could be.  But my point is that applying leadership to a task changes the expectations of the task.  It even changes the task itself. Think of it, when we ourselves are challenged to lead and not simply do, our world is, I submit, changed. 
 
Whenever you need to lead people to accomplish a task, challenge them not to do that task but to take leadership of that task. 
 
This gets back to the key measurement of your leadership.  Your leadership should best be measured not by your leadership but by the leadership of the people you lead. 
 
Now, in becoming leaders, they can't simply do what they want.  They must come to an agreement with you as to what leadership actions they will take.  You can veto any of their proposed actions.  However, use the veto sparingly.  Cultivate your confidence and their confidence in their leadership. 
 
When you evaluate the effectiveness of your leadership by the feedback loop connected to their leadership, you are assessing your world as it should be, and great results will follow.

 

2005© The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – Celebrating 25 years of helping leaders of top companies worldwide achieve outstanding results every day. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get his FREE report "7 Steps To Leadership Mastery"