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Champion Leadership Blog

Be Aware of the Difference Between Ed Koch & You

I hope it’s not too late!

A comment on last week’s blog about the humble, direct leadership style of former New York Mayor Ed Koch triggered something I need to make you aware of.

Tom said, “I like the Koch approach. It is something that I’d like to model. I meet with my staff on a regular basis in 1:1s, and this is a question I’m going to add!”220px-Ed_Koch_95th_congress

After my initial euphoria subsided, thinking of the impact I’ve had on a subscriber, I realized something.

I failed to mention one important distinction between your situation and Mayor Koch’s.

Mayor Koch was a servant of the people. He was working for them.

You most likely will be asking for input from those working for you, or with you as a peer.

That is a much different dynamic.

It doesn’t mean it won’t work.

It most definitely will.

It’s just that if your company or team culture has not developed into the type of culture where this type of communication is expected, you may not get the candid commentary you are asking for.

There is a simple adjustment to make this work.

Just preface the conversation with your team members to create a safe environment to share their candid observations and experience.

Start the process by telling everyone (either individually or in a team meeting) that you would like their candid feedback on “how you’re doing?’

You need to communicate very clearly that:

  • You are doing it so you can become a better leader/manager for them,
  • All feedback will be considered coming with the best of intentions, and
  • There will be no negative repercussions.

Also let them know that you will get back to them after having taking all feedback under consideration and that you will identify 2-3 specific items to begin working on.

Then, ask them to monitor your progress, observe your attempt at improving and to provide on-going feedback as to “how I am doing.”

Have Fun!

Does this make sense? Please leave a comment to let us know how it goes.

Tell me what you think and continue the conversation.

’til next time Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach

There are 4 comments. Add yours.

  1. Sharon Blanchard

    Skip,
    I had a direct experience earlier this year when my new boss asked that question of me and my team. I was a little surprised actually, but he had laid some groundwork that made us feel safe and open enough to comment. When he first started, he sent us an email outlining his perspective of the organization, and his objectives for developing processes and basically what he wanted to accomplish as a team. We participated in a 2-day workshop to develop a shared vision and goals and went to work. Six months later, we reconvened as a team, reflected back on our accomplishments and non-accomplishments, and he asked for feedback, “how am I doing”? Honestly, we stuttered a bit, but then once the ice broke, we had a great conversation and provided respectful feedback in the spirit of helping each other improve and grow.

    The results: Tremendous amounts of trust and respect. And, something I just now thought of, less need to appear perfect, and more freedom to ask for advice. Job satisfaction….through the ceiling….

    • Skip Weisman

      Sharon,
      WOW! Thanks for sharing your story here. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. The humility and transparency leads to authenticity that builds trust, respect and confidence in a leader from his or her team. That’s awesome, I’m so pleased you’ve found yourself working in such a positive environment.

      I look forward to learning more as your experience evolves.
      Skip

  2. Jay Hansen

    Thanks, Skip
    My experience was that the trust environment had to be worked every minute of every day. If the focus was on the mission (yes, I am retired military) or the “Why are we here?”, then there was a common basis for “How can we do this better?” and there was no need for structured evaluations or structured feedback because everyone knew how they were valued and we were motivating each other to achieve the common goal.
    Jay

    • Skip Weisman

      Jay,
      Thank you for sharing your experience here. Your suggestion is exactly what I’m speaking about. When you foster the right environment everyone is on board and the “evaluations” are on-going all the time. Everyone in the environment knows when things or someone is off kilter and it gets addressed at the first most appropriate time in the right way. In these situations often the team is so high functioning the team members take care of the issue promptly, directly and respectfully (“in the locker room,” to use a sports metaphor).

      I don’t think your reference to the military really matters, except as an example of what should be modeled. The same culture can be developed in any business, professional or even personal environment by doing the things you and Sharon are suggesting here.

      Thanks for being inspired to stop by and leave a comment here. Please come back and contribute to the conversation again sometime.
      Skip

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