The Most Important Predictor of Leadership Development Success

Training or leadership session

Most organizations have implemented some type of leadership training program to develop their leaders.  Executive coaching, in particular, has become a popular method for leadership development. In the article, “Leadership is a Contact Sport” from Strategy + Business Magazine, Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan, experts on executive coaching, researched the underlying success factors for positive long-term leadership development. Their discoveries are groundbreaking.
“Time and again, one variable emerged as central to achievement of positive long-term change: the participants’ ongoing interaction and follow-up with colleagues,” write Goldsmith and Morgan. In other words, perceptions of improvement increased sharply if, and only if, leaders followed-up a 360-degree feedback survey or other similar assessment with coworkers, asking for further feedback on their development and soliciting ideas for improvement.
If leadership development is only an event, it will have little impact. If leadership development is a process, with constant requests for feedback and help, people are more likely to change and co-workers are more likely to notice it. Goldsmith and Howard compare the leadership development process to a physical fitness program. In order to get in shape, you need a pattern or process of exercise, not a singular exercise event. The pattern or process of change includes consistent follow-up with co-workers on leadership development progress.
Think of an executive coach as a leadership development personal trainer. The role of the trainer is to encourage and promote activities which increase the likelihood of change and success. One of the most important roles of a coach is to facilitate and encourage follow-up with a leaders’ colleagues if they hope to create positive change.
Do you agree with Goldsmith and Howard? Do you think that follow-up with colleagues is the single, most-important predictor of change success? How do you coach for, and facilitate, that type of follow-up?

360 Degree Feedback Survey

Employee Engagement in the Restaurant Industry

Employee satisfaction vs employee engagement

In our recent benchmarking study, we compared several employee engagement surveys from 11 restaurant brands and discovered that the aggregate restaurant engagement scores run parallel to our overall engagement benchmark. This is in some ways a surprise, given the high turnover rates of restaurants. Many assume that restaurants’ engagement levels should be lower.

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Giving Critical Feedback through Artful Critiques

As we administer and report on 360-degree feedback surveys, we notice that participants and their managers naturally focus on the negative feedback from 360 results. This focus on the negative often leads to follow-up criticism that attempts to address the negative results. Such criticism, and especially the way it is delivered, can either make or break an employees’ motivation.
What is the best method for giving redirecting feedback? How can we express criticism without triggering frustration or defensive responses? How can we give critical feedback while carefully maintaining employee motivation?
The key to maintaining motivation is to depersonalize the criticism. Focus on the behavior and not the person or judgments of the person’s character. Consider giving an artful critique, coined by Harry Levinson, which focuses on what the person has done or can do in the future to avoid delivering a personal attack on the nature of the individual. Levinson offers the following four steps for artful critiques:

  1. Be specific. Pinpoint an incident that demonstrates the problem that needs changing. Avoid making general statements about an individual’s behaviors.
  2. Offer a solution. The artful critique, like all good feedback, should offer a suggestion for fixing the problem; otherwise, the recipient is left feeling frustrated, angry, and stuck.
  3. Be present. Just like praise, critiques are most effective when given face to face and in private. When given any other way, the communication is too impersonal and is at greater risk of being misunderstood.
  4. Be sensitive. Understand the impact that corrective words can have on the recipient and be sure to focus on being empathetic and sensitive in giving criticism.

Certainly, the way criticism is given goes a long way in determining how satisfied people are with their work and how motivated they will be to improve and progress. Ultimately, giving artful critiques can improve the employee engagement in your organization.
What have you experienced when giving redirecting feedback? How is criticism given in your organization? What are the negative or positive effects of the criticism?
Related Post: 5 Steps for Giving Feedback
Related Post: Giving as Good as I Got: What to do after you receive your 360 feedback
Related Post: 5 Tips for Giving Effective 360-Degree Feedback
Related Post: Giving the Gift of Feedback
Related Post: Does Someone Have to Go? How Not to Do 360 Feedback
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How Maglite Maintains High Employee Engagement

Anthony Maglica, the owner and founder of the company that makes the famous Maglite flashlight, describes the employees in his company as his family. His genuine concern for people produces engaged and committed employees who are willing to put forth their best effort to help the company succeed.

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