Monday, April 29, 2013

Being Humble

It's takes a lot to take advice: especially from your direct reports. Ever since I learned of the works of Peter Drucker, I've preached his concept of respecting and developing the knowledge worker. However, it wasn't until this past year that I've really began to understand the concept.

Here are two personal examples of my triumphs from being humble.

Heated Summer

Last year, I began spending extra time coaching one of my top individuals but did more harm than I was expecting. I supported her on a continuous improvement project and supported meaning I did the thinking for her. To my surprise, I blocked her creativity and capability of doing wonders. Thanks to candid discussions with her, we were able to come to an agreement of what our roles are and how we can help each other succeed. And to this day, her empowerment and engagement produces results I couldn't have even fathomed with all the resources in the world. It came down to trust. Trusting her knowledge. Trusting her expertise. And most importantly trusting her that she'll make the right decision.

Happy Fiscal New Year

On Friday I began giving performance appraisals. Honestly one of my favorite times of the year. After closing out the conversation in the system, I turned to my team member asking for one more thing. I started with briefing them on my leadership development initiative this past year and the different types of training I received. I then asked "if you could give me one action to Start doing or Stop doing, what would it be?" Dead silence.

Following the deer in the headlights look, the silence turned into a soft chuckle: "you want me to give you a review?"

Just as managers do they started with all the nice positive comments and then ended with an opportunity for improvement. It was great to hear both. Over the past few months I've deployed surveys on my performance around trust and communication. None of it aligned to what I was being told so to be able to have the conversation was very beneficial.

For all leaders and individual contributors out there, remember to talk to your team. Ask the right questions to actively listen to what they have to say. You'll be surprised I'm sure of all the great ideas they have. You'll be even more surprised, how wrong your perception was all this time.

Be smart by being humble.

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