“What’s the best way for John to improve?” I asked, one of those coachy-interviewing questions people like me say to bosses and peers of folks we’re working to support.
“Honestly, I wish he would just stop trying so hard to improve, and just lead. We’ve all given him plenty of advice. He’s taken a gazillion courses. He’s hired a great coach. But around every corner he’s asking for constant feedback. It’s exhausting. Besides, he can’t possibly do everything we’re suggesting all at once, so he’s creating expectations he can’t live up to.”
My advice: listen, breathe, and do. Stop looking outside for feedback.
Even the best intentions taken to extreme cause harm.
Don’t over-think your leadership. People are watching. You need feedback, and most people ask too little. And as it turns out, some people ask too much.
Signs You’re Asking Too Little
- You have no idea where you really stand.
- You’re blind-sided in performance reviews.
- You keep getting passed over for promotions and don’t know why.
- You don’t really know what your peers think about you.
- You have no idea where you stand with your bosses’ boss.
- Your team never shares constructive feedback.
It might be time for a do-it-yourself 360.
Signs You’re Asking Too Much
- You keep hearing the same advice over and over.
- You haven’t had time to really improve.
- You’re ignoring the advice and asking again, hoping the advice will change.
- You’re addicted to the conversation.
- You talk more about you than about your team.
- You’re more focused on your own improvement than on improving business results.
It’s a tragedy when leaders stop learning. Equally devastating is when leaders become more focused on their own improvement than on leading well.