Friday, September 19, 2014

Leadership lessons from The Onion

I sometimes like to find leadership lessons in unusual places. Looking for leadership lessons through the lens of unexpected sources can be interesting and insightful. While I usually find these lessons in movies or television, you can find leadership lessons anywhere where you look.

Perhaps you are familiar with The Onion? In an "op-ed" article from August, "I’m Always Open To Feedback That I Can Get Defensive About And Ultimately Ignore," we can learn about receiving feedback. Here are three lessons I inferred from the article:
We don't have all the answers. As a friend and colleague often advises, "the answer is in the room." So be prepared to listen to advice as it comes to you. I find that it helps to start with the phrase "feedback is a gift," which allows me to mentally shift gears so I am prepared for feedback, and acts as a sort of "flag" that gives permission to those around me that it's okay to give honest, constructive feedback.

We all need to hear feedback from others, even if that feedback may be difficult to hear. Managers who receive feedback from their staff can become more effective managers, including coping with their emotions, empathizing with individuals and resolving conflict. But managers who do not receive feedback from staff are less likely to change their behavior.

Feedback must be timely to be effective. Do not wait to provide comments. If you have not given the feedback within a week of observing either something good that needs to be recognized or something ineffective that needs to be addressed, you have waited too long.
Consider how you receive feedback. Find a peer coach who can give you an honest opinion about how you are doing. Remember, feedback is a gift!
photo: David Goehring

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