A few weeks back in an email exchange with Dr. Ray Wheeler, found of Leadership-Praxis.com, he told me to ask this question to the people I was responsible for leading.
“Based on the time you have known me…what do I believe about you?”
As I asked the members of my team this question it reavealed a lot of things both about my leadership and their beliefs. I found for the most part they were worried that I viewed their perceived weaknesses as larger than I actually did (in some cases I did not even see the issue they were concerned about or if I did, didn’t see it as a weakness) Also they were reticent to share what they thought I thought of their strengths. It is a little bit of an awkward question to ask but it was very valuable for my own insight as well as being able to correct the misperceptions that others had.
Since most of what people believe comes from what we say I realized I need to do a much better job of encouraging my team.
So next time you have the opportunity with a team member, close friend or someone else that will be honest with you ask them, “Based on the time you have known me…what do I believe about you?” and remember no matter what they respond with don’t be defensive or you’ll probably never get a truly honest answer from them in future.
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