Mastery - Day 19 - OPENNESS

Being open to input and ideas from those around us, and open to making shifts in our behaviour in response to the realities of the outside world is a strength and great contributor to eventual success.

We have discussed already the need to be observant, to recognise that nearly all of the data you will require exists in the world around you, it lies within you and within your family, friends, team-mates and colleagues - the key is being open to receiving it.

The greatest leaders look to build openness in their organisations and they push for candour, where people feel able to be open, they will share more and more, they will share new ideas, stories of successes and crucially the things that are not working.  Where there is an atmosphere, or a culture, that stops people being open - then things go unnoticed and mistakes get covered up or fudged around.    Look around your world today, how many people are holding back secrets, covering up big mistakes or letting little mistakes grow into big mistakes because the boss is arrogant and bad tempered, or because their partners or parents punish mistakes severely?
  • Openness requires a level of safety, safety from ridicule and negative judgements
That safety comes from being able to trust those around you - from the quality of the relationship. I have already suggested that if you are serious about your learning and development, it can be great to form an alliance with a friend, buddy up with them.

Promise to be open with each other about what you see in each other, tell each other when you see something good happen and be open with each other when you see something that is not so good. Make a little deal based on openness and recognise within it that at times there is the potential for some upset - pointing to where each other are going wrong could feel hurtful at times - the feedback you are offering each other might not always be well delivered.

Be clear on the purpose of feedback

I would like you to try something if you are able to, and it centres around the feedback that we give one another. Redefine what feedback represents to you and your purpose in receiving it and in offering it to others:
  • Feedback is not the celebration of success or the punishment of failure, that should sit elsewhere in our conversations - feedback is just the data.
  • Feedback is information given in order to improve or enhance performance.
We can now remove two unhelpful labels, 'good' and 'bad'. There is no bad feedback or good feedback, it is simply data an expression of things you are doing well, and things that need to improve - but it is all just data, which you need to know, in order to do better next time.

When you are offering feedback, tell yourself this first 'its helpful stuff, get set in your mind that you are there to provide support and to help, to give your colleague a gift. That little reminder in the moment will help you to find the right words - and if you simply can't, then be honest:

'look, I need to speak to you about something, I can't quite find the right words, but I want you know that I'm doing this because I want to support you, I noticed you did 'this' and it went really well, but when you did 'that', it just didn't work'.  What do you think you might need to do now?'

When you are receiving feedback, remember that same thing, 'this is helpful stuff' - you can't necessarily control the way it is delivered to you, but you can at least focus on the useful bits of information you are being given.

Openness then was the final word from this list of positive qualities relating to mastery. They all seem reasonable to me, they weren't mine remember, I simply took a list of words and had a play with them and thought about them using some principles around improving performance as a filter.

Tomorrow I will post a summary which you might find of value, and in Day 21 I will encourage us to create some outputs that may serve us.

Day 20

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