Archives For feedback

iStock 000023703627XSmall 150x99 Interviewing?  4 Ways to Set Yourself Apart

It takes more than qualifications to get the job.  Don’t count on your track record.  In a close race, best prepared wins.

Two candidates were interviewing for a District Sales Manager position.  Both had great backgrounds and qualifications. Both nailed the Behavior Based Interview, and we moved on to talk about their planned approach.

Joe (not his real name) came with his generic 90 day strategy.  It was as if he had read Michael Watkin’s Book, The First 90 Days,* and copied the generic advice into his plan. His key actions looked like that of so many other candidates.  Part of Joe’s plan was to visit every store in his territory in the first 30 days.  Yawn.

*p.s I love Watkin’s book. It’s a great read when applied well. Continue Reading…

frontlinefestival 300x300 Frontline Festival April 2013:  Feedback and Coaching EditionThis month’s Frontline Festival is all about Feedback and Coaching.  I am delighted by the outpouring of submissions.  It’s an amazing line-up.

Courageous Feedback

Lolly Daskal, encourages us to take some risks in giving feedback in her post, We Need a Courageous Conversation  “In most organizations, and in our relationships, we’re all so busy being polite with everyone that we’re either not aware of the breakdown, afraid of the breakdown, or avoiding it altogether. We kid ourselves into thinking that if we don’t deal with it, maybe it will go away.  When we fail to engage and say what we honestly think and feel, our business performance will suffer. When what “goes unsaid” is not being said, our relationships will fail.”   She offers, 10 approaches, my favorite is number 7. 

Blair Glesser takes a different stance in, Honestly Speaking, encouraging us to think well about if, when, and how we should offer feedback.  She concludes, “Often the whole issue of whether or not to be honest dissipates when you tune in and connect with your heart. Your heart knows exactly what needs to be said and when, and it never is about the shallow stuff. Its feedback is always geared to bring more love to yourself, your loved ones and the world.”

Susan Mazza wins the prize for the post that made me cry (I won’t tell you why, just read it).   In The Ultimate Source of Empowerment .  “People always have a choice even if they do not see that they do.  A critical role of every leader is to bring people to choice.”

Encouraging Feedback

Dan McCarthy gives fantastic advice on encouraging feedback in, 10 Ways to Get More Feedback (and 5 Ways if You Can’t Really Handle the Truth).  The best part is the 5 Ways to protect yourself against unwanted feedback.  “I once had a VP tell me “I hate feedback”. I had to admire his honesty. Actually, a lot of us do, we just won’t admit it. So, if you really don’t want to find out about your weaknesses, and would prefer to keep your head blissfully buried in the sand, then use any or all of these 5 methods.”  Perhaps you know someone who needs this post.

David Dye shares 6 practical ways to encourage more feedback from your team in his post, 6 Ways to Not Walk Naked Down the Street.  I can’t help but wonder what search terms brought folks to that title icon wink Frontline Festival April 2013:  Feedback and Coaching Edition  The best point, “It may take time, but if you begin asking for the truth, showing gratitude for input, and responding to it, you will earn trust, gain credibility, and have the information you need to make the best decisions.”

In her post, What it Means for Leaders to Show Up, Wendy Appel explains that encouraging feedback starts with how we “show up.”  Ask yourself,” how do I show up?” Am I present?  Do people feel and experience my availability to be there for them or am I distracted, on to the next thing, focused on what I want to say; the point I want to make, forcing an outcome I think is best?…”  I like this one because it’s advice packaged for daily use.

Robyn McLeod. of Chatsworth Consulting asks Are You Getting Honest Feedback?  And then, offers 4 Ways to ensure you receive it.  ”To get the feedback you need, you have to encourage and invite feedback from others so they know it is OK to be honest with you. This ASK FOR IT model offers tips on how to do that”


Dan Rockwell shares 3 reasons you need a “coach” in 5 Sure Fire Ways to Spot a Great Coach, and then teaches us how to know one when we see one.  Great, practical advice.   A must read.  My favorite, “Your ideas seem right because they’re yours – you need tough questions.”  Dan’s got good ones.

I love this practical post from Jennifer Miller, Should You Give Advice or Coach?  “Giving advice is saying what you would do. It makes the conversation about you. Coaching helps people decide what they are going to do which is a far more powerful outcome.”  The best part, she tells us how to do it.

Brian Smith shares Leadership Lessons:  When Mistakes are Made Create a Teachable Moment.  Although I might debate his reference to a roast beef sandwich as a healthy choice, his metaphor works.  The best point, “You need to be able to separate the act (What the person did) from the person they are. (You’re OK; it’s what you did that isn’t.)”

“Being a good coach means putting others before yourself and always making decisions for the good of the team.”  Here are a few tips from Tom Walter in his post, How to Be a Good Coach:  Tips for Employee Focused Leaders.  Some practical, easy to apply principles for front line leaders.

 How to Give Feedback

In his post, Give Frequent and Useful Feedback, Wally Bock advocates for frequent feedback.  “Problems are like dinosaurs. They’re easy to kill when they’re small. But if you let them grow up they can eat you.”  Don’t make feedback a once-a-year event. Make it frequent. Don’t make it an ego trip. Make it helpful.

Eric Dingler shares How to Make Feedback a G.I.F.T. by making it Genuine, Immediate, Friendly and Tailored.  You’ve got to read his list of very practical suggestions.  Eric’s posts are always actionable.  His approach works.

Jon Mertz shares a sentiment I am considering painting on my office door, “Life is too short for unproductive drama and spoiled relationship,” in his post Go Hard on the Issue, Soft on the Person:  5 Leadership Ideas.  He shares 5 practical tips to make that happen.

Jonathan Green, AKA Monster Leader, shares how to coach to REALLY tough conversations in his post, Dude You Stink:  Coaching to Odor Issues.  I know this guy.  If you had to have anyone tell you that you smell, you would want it to be him.

This one’s fun and powerful.  Ted Guloien of MU Field Management Research shares Giving Performance Feedback on American Idol.  My favorite point,  ”Concentrate on and attend to the other person, and not so much on your own feelings, fears or anxieties about providing feedback.”

Alli Polin explains why we all hate performance reviews in her post, Performance Reviews Don’t Have to Suck.   My favorite thought,  ”They suck because they’re more about process than the person.”  Often true.  Alli shows how you can do it better.

Feedback doesn’t work in shallow relationships.  Joseph LaLonde explains that it starts with building real communication in his post, The Power of Real Communication.  “It involves taking the time to get to know the employees. Finding out their dreams and passions. If things are going well at work. If their job is still fulfilling.”

Recognition as Feedback

Tanveer Naseer  asks Are You Following These 3 Rules For Giving Feedback?  He also shares the how to use the recognition more strategically as feedback.  My favorite line, “feedback should make you hungry to achieve more.”  Let it be so.

Greg Richardson highlights the importance of substantive recognition as a feedback strategy in his post, On Recognition.  The best point, foster peer recognition, “Receiving tangible recognition from a peer can be much more meaningful for many people than anything a manager can say.”

Personal Feedback

Peter Friedes shares an activity and an opportunity for a free assessment to help work with your blind spot in, Find Your Blind Spot:  A Self-Reflection Activity For Managers

Jesse Lynn Stoner, asks a vital question in her post, Are You a Team in Name Only?  “Do you really want a team?”  A great example of feedback using provocative questions.  Ask tough questions gets to root cause.

In his post, Start With the End in Mind, Mark Miller encourages us to look 30 years out to plan for success in 5 key areas of our lives (he’s also looking or a clean “F” word that means influence if you have any suggestions).  He suggests you spend an 8 hour day planning (and giving yourself feedback) on how you’re doing in each of these areas as you make your plan. 

Chery Cegelman writes  Leaders are You a Candle or a Beacon?  She encourages us to be in a constant state of self-feedback, “As you think through the meetings you have scheduled this week…  Do you need to be a candle or a beacon?”

logo 150x150 Frontline Festival April 2013:  Feedback and Coaching Edition

Next month’s Frontline Festival’s Topic is Trust and Transparency.  Submissions due May 10th.  The Festival will go live May 17th.

New to Let’s Grow Leaders?  Please subscribe and join the benefits of our growing, interactive community.

iStock 000014512836XSmall 225x300 5 Indications the Feedback is Not About YouHave you ever received frustrating feedback? Have you ever wanted to shout, “are you freaking serious?…” “Have you looked at the impact YOU are making?”  ”I don’t want to roll like you…” Continue Reading…

How to Transform Mid-Team

February 8, 2013 — 5 Comments

iStock 000022782848XSmall 200x300 How to Transform Mid Team

The best time to transform to a radically new leadership style is when you start fresh with a new team.  But that’s not always practical or feasible.

You’ve been reading blogs, books, and maybe attended a course or got some 360 feedback… but your team doesn’t know all of that.  If you transform your style now, what will they think? If you suddenly start asking questions instead of telling…recognizing their wins,…  or take a sudden interest in their personal life, will they trust you?

If the transformation is dramatic, your teams may be shocked at best…and at least skeptical.. they may even distrust your motives.

Working on becoming a better leader is always worth it.

So, how can you ensure your team will take you seriously?  Can you transform with credibility? Continue Reading…

The Input Paradox

January 24, 2013 — 2 Comments

iStock 000008365172XSmall 300x199 The Input ParadoxWhen you take your leadership seriously, you are on a constant search for input.

“How am I doing?”
“What do you think”
“How did that go?”
“Am I on your short list?”

Before I go any further, let me stop and warn you.

This is one of those “do what I say… not as a I do” posts.

I don’t have this handled.

Maybe you wrestle with this too.

Perhaps we can work on it together.

The Trouble With Input

Leading well is edgy.

You will tick people off.

And… if you are leading well, you will be on a constant search for how you can lead better.

At any given point you will have just annoyed someone.  In fact, at any given time, you may have done something that really made them mad. Continue Reading…

visionboard 300x200 3 Easy and Practical Team Building ActivitiesIt’s been a rather heavy week on Let’s Grow Leaders, talking about Courage, Fear, Transparency, and Chaos.  So I am going to end the week on a lighter note.  I had my team in town this week, working on business strategy and plans.   We also made time the day before for a few practical and easy team building activities.

These activities are not original, but they worked quite well, with little prep, and without an external facilitator.  If you are looking for a good way to kick-off the year, you might find value in giving them a try.

Making it Personal

We held the team building session at my house, followed by a home cooked dinner.  I am a huge believer in having my team to my home, a tradition I have done for over a decade.  There is value in wearing jeans, eating together, seeing the natural habitat, and meeting my family.

I now have a National team, so including significant others in the dinner is not practical.  However in years past, I have included spouses and friends in the evening activities.   A few years ago, my son ended up on the shoulders of team member riding a unicycle on my deck… so you have to be prepared for surprises. sebandbrian 199x300 3 Easy and Practical Team Building Activities

Vision Board and One Word Double Header

I combined the “one word” exercise that so many are doing this year with a vision board exercise (see, What the Heck’s a Vision Board and How it can Change Your Life).  All you need is some old magazines, poster board, and glue… and a bit of creativity. Continue Reading…

searchformore 300x300 Time to Grow:  Whats Next for Lets Grow Leaders

When I began writing Let’s Grow Leaders this Summer, I had no idea of the remarkable adventure that had begun.

It has been a journey of introspection, challenge, connection, friendships, support and collaboration.

I am deeply grateful for the growing international community of followers and subscribers who share their insights and add to the conversation.  I am delighted by the growing network of thought leaders with whom I learn every day.  I am humbled by those who so frequently comment and enrich the dialogue, particularly for Steve Borek, who began commenting early and often, and always enhances the post.

I’ve been working to digest the traffic and trends to interpret which posts and topics have been most helpful as I work to plan for 2013.

What would be even more useful would be your candid feedback.  What would you like to see as we continue to grow on our leadership journeys?

Let’s Grow Together

  • What topics would be most useful?
  • Do you prefer conceptual conversation or practical advice?
  • Are the stories helpful?
  • What about guest posts… would you like more or less?
  • I have tried running a few special series on Saturdays, how do those feel?
  • If you are not a subscriber, what would encourage you to subscribe?
  • What types of posts are you most likely to share with others?
  • How can I better encourage your comments?
  • What ideas do you have for enhancing the Let’s Grow Leaders Facebook page?
  • What other ideas do you have?
I would appreciate any ideas and insights as I work to grow Let’s Grow Leaders in 2013.   Please share any ideas you have in the comments, or send me an email at

iStock 000012200839XSmall 300x199 How To Tell Your Boss The Truth

I learned this one the hard way.

My first year out of grad school, I was invited to a symposium on self-directed work teams.  In academia, I was well versed.  I had little practical experience.  The morning began with a senior executive sponsor setting the vision.  After he spoke,  I immediately raised my hand and challenged one of his major assumptions.  I shared my “truth.”  There was a palpable gasp from the crowd.  He was embarrassed, as was I. Continue Reading…