Written by Rachel Clapp-Smith
Have you ever wondered if the leader you see in yourself is the leader others see? There are a host of theories I could regale you with to explain how and why we come to see ourselves as certain types of leaders. However, on the very basic level, the question of finding congruence in how we see ourselves and how others see us is a matter of self-awareness. The most important piece about becoming self-aware is getting feedback. Many organizations implement systems such as 360 assessments and annual reviews as mechanisms to provide feedback. Sounds like a good idea, right?
Well, the problem is that organizations do a good job with building the structures, but a terrible job at the very human element of the feedback loop – how to craft feedback in a developmental way, how to absorb feedback that may not always be positive, and how to turn such feedback into actionable items for improvement. If you are human like me, your gut reaction to feedback might be dread in anticipation of feedback and sulking if it is negative. Because we all feel this way, we have a tendency to give positive feedback, which is nice to have something reaffirm how great we are, but not always developmental, because it may make us think that everything we do is just fine. The truth is, we all have room for improvement.
I might suggest at this point that we all just suck it up and learn how to process feedback so that we can turn it into something positive. This isn’t bad advice and I would recommend training yourself to use a learner mindset in receiving feedback about how you lead. But this blog post is about how to get really honest and complete feedback. When you want to hear the hard news, who do you turn to? The people who know you well, who support you, and who can be honest with you. In short, where strong relationships exist, so, too, does honest feedback.
Because of this, it is almost silly to use only 360 degree feedback, i.e., only in the workplace. With 1080 degree feedback, that workplace information can be augmented by family and friends, and members of our community domain (volunteer organization, church group, sports club, etc.). This gives leaders a panoramic view in high definition. When the leader they see is not the leader others see, the 1080 view will make it clear why, because the feedback is more complete and in some areas, likely more honest.
How often do you ask your friends and family about how they see you lead? We have evidence from our research that the way they see you lead has an awful lot to do with the way you see yourself lead. Furthermore, our research shows that the more your friends and family acknowledge you as a leader, the more effectively you lead at work.
There’s a lot of power in 1080 feedback. Are you ready for it?
Ever have a really bad day at work and find your spouse getting crabby too? What about sharing a story to your coworkers about how you were really proud of your kids and it lightened the mood?
Recent theory and empirical support has suggested this happens through a spillover-crossover model. First, spillover occurs, then it crosses-over to others in our network.
Spillover: We bring experiences, thoughts, moods and self-perceptions from work to home and vice versa. What happens at work affects me while I’m home. What happens at home affects me at work.
Crossover: The experiences, thoughts, moods and self-perceptions that spillover from one domain to another have implication and effects on other people in our networks. So my work experiences not only affect me, but also my family members. What happens in my family affects my co-workers and boss too!
How does this happen? There are three basic ways that crossover occurs:
Taking this together, it makes a lot of sense and we can easily relate to spillover and all three types of crossover. Without much thought, we know this is true because we’ve lived it. So what’s the point? I think there are a few main take-away points and ponderings.
1. Crossover effects are stronger in close relationships. So as to avoid the weight of someone else’s world, we might be tempted to distance ourselves. However, the very act of caring, listening, and responding with empathy, has benefits for ourselves and others. Remember in close relationships, we take the god with the bad. And research suggests, helping other people (called a tend-and-befriend response) has physical and psychological benefits to our own stress response, and even longevity.
2. This should create an awareness in our own management of the boundaries between work and home. Are we “kicking the dog” for our frustrations at work? What can we do to transition from one role to becoming truly present in the other role?
3. As leaders, managers, and employees, are we aware that our actions at work have implication not only for our employees, but also for their friends and family? If we were truly cognizant of this, would it change the way we lead?