For the Most CANDID Leadership Feedback, Go Undercoverhttps://c-suitenetwork.com/advisors/wp-content/themes/csadvisore/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 Jennifer Ledet Jennifer Ledet https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/517e62411acf7b10f35b4dc1d70142df?s=96&d=mm&r=g
As a leader, if you had the opportunity to “go undercover,” what would you find? What do your employees think of your leadership style? Your policies and procedures? The company culture and environment you have created?
If you are anything like me and you have been catching up on your reading and flipping past the plethora of reality TV shows, the program “Undercover Boss” features the CEO of a prominent company who goes “undercover” as a new employee within his/her company. The CEO-turned-entry-level-employee has the opportunity to experience the effects of his/her leadership and company policies first-hand.
In the name of leadership expert research, of course, I dove in. Once you get past the fact that these people have a cameraman following them around and recording their every move, (they tell the “real” employees that they are documenting the experiences of new employees), it is pretty telling.
WARNING: this is not for the faint-hearted. You’d have to be open to receiving the unvarnished, non-sugarcoated truth to go undercover like this. Unfortunately, many of these “bosses” and leaders discover how unrealistic their policies are in the “real” world. Some are shocked by the level of dedication and loyalty expressed by employees in the lowest ranks of the organization. Some are inspired to make some changes in their leadership practices.
It’s often very intimidating to ask for candid feedback from your team members, peers, and superiors. It’s a little like – ladies you’ll appreciate this analogy – trying on bathing suits in the department stores. You know, they’ve got those (dreaded) mirrors that give you the complete view from every angle. (Who invented those mirrors anyway? I hate those things!)
Taking a peek at that rear view can be a very powerful experience for most people. Seeing yourself from every angle, including the perspective of your team members, can even move you to change some things.
Even if you are managing just a few people to help you with your business, what would you find? Have you created a work environment of respect and trust? Do team members feel comfortable disagreeing with you for the greater good of the company or the customer? Or are your employees afraid to mention that, ahem, the emperor, (aka YOU), has no clothes?
Remove yourself from your laptop and go out and mix and mingle with the rank and file. Ask for, and really listen to, their input. Ask questions about their experiences and their realities.
You may be surprised by what you find!
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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication. In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.
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