It was a hard years as a leader in some ways. So much for having an “open door policy”. This year several members of our staff told me where I was letting them down. Next year I’ll close the door.
Not really, but this was a year, like many before, where staff members said to me, “I have a problem with you.” They may not have used those exact words, but the point was clear; I’m an idiot at times. There is room for improvement with any leader, and maturing leaders welcome instruction from the people they are trying to lead.
I realize some would question me for allowing such correction from people I’m supposed to lead, but most of the time when I’ve been corrected by someone I’m supposed to lead, I deserve it, but anytime an associate is brave enough to rebuke an employer, you can be assured he or she is either:
- Desperate and willing to do anything
- Ignorant or doesn’t care
- Feels welcome to do so
In my opinion, good leaders work to live within the third option. I’m hoping that’s the reason in my situation.
Here are 7 ways I welcome correction by the people I lead:
An open door – This is more than keeping the door to my office open. I try to make my schedule available to the people I lead. In addition, my team knows I consider responsiveness to be of the highest value.
Include others in decision making – If a decision affects more people than me, then I want more people helping to make the decision. This is true even if it’s a natural decision for me to make. The more I include people in the decision-making, the more likely they are to want to follow the decisions made.
Ask for it – Consistently, throughout the year, I ask people to tell me what they think. It’s a risky move, because many will, but it’s invaluable insight. (I’ll help your team do it too. Details HERE.)
Admit mistakes – It’s important that I recognize when decisions made are my fault.
Take personal responsibility – In addition to admitting fault, I must own my share of projects and responsibility. The team needs to know that I’m on their side and in their corner.
Model it – It’s one thing to say I welcome correction, but when correction comes, I must model receiving it well. If I overreact when correction comes, I’ll limit the times I receive it.
Trade it – The best way to get your team to offer healthy correction of the leader is to create a relationship with your team where there is mutual correction. The goal is not for the leader to receive all the correction. The goal is for correction to be applied where correction is needed.
Receiving correction is difficult for anyone, perhaps seemingly unnatural for most leaders. I believe, however, that when leader is open to correction, his or her team will be more willing to follow the leader wherever he or she goes.
Leader, are you open to correction?
Is your leader open to correction?