Last week’s two blogs reviewing and excerpting Joe Folkman’s book The Power of Feedback drew very positive reader responses. One wrote, “‘I’d like to give you a little feedback’ really does send a shiver up my spine! Eeek! I am going to read this book because I need to change my mindset.”
The reader went on to talk about building courage and growing personal influence regardless of position or authority. It takes courage to seek out and build on feedback. Zenger Folkman’s research shows that when leaders do that their perceived leadership jumps dramatically.
What’s especially fascinating and full of deep implications for leaders is our research showing how making a real effort to improve based on feedback impacts perceived honesty and integrity. As outlined in their book, How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your Strengths, leaders who asked for and acted on feedback about their leadership behaviors were rated much higher in honesty and integrity.
This huge range of difference shows that a feedback-deaf leader is seen as over 4 times less honest than counterparts who continually seek out and act on feedback. A low scoring leader could write this off as “that’s just their perception, that’s not who I really am.” But even if he or she was straight-arrow honest and never lied, cheated, or stole anything in his or her life, perception is all there is.
Seeking and acting on 360 feedback provides the clearest and most accurate picture of our leadership effectiveness. Since self-assessments have been proven only half as accurate as assessment from others, we can’t increase our perceived honesty and integrity or magnify other leadership strengths unless we get feedback.