Humphrey says he actively encourages his peers and his direct reports to be open and honest with him, even if the feedback's not wholly positive. "It's my job as a leader to make sure that I'm modeling the kinds of behavior that I expect to see throughout the company. I'm constantly asking my peers and my direct reports -- if you think I'm being a bad manager, if I'm doing something stupid, call me out. I want to know about it! That's how we're all going to get better," Humphrey says.
It can also be helpful to integrate training, McCreary says. Artists, writers and performers are often much better at giving and receiving feedback, because they're trained to do so through workshops, critiques, editing and revising, peer-reviews and the like. In the IT world, it's much more "every person for themselves," and that doesn't leave much room for collaboration and feedback. Helping your IT department get better at soliciting and accepting feedback, and practicing constructive criticism, will go a long way toward building trust, which then helps drive better communication and more effective collaboration, she says.
For some organizations, it's a long road, but all it takes is one individual, one person willing to take the first step and be open and vulnerable before the change takes hold.
"You need to think of this as a gift that will help you to assess your weaknesses and make them strengths. I've seen it time and again where just one leader tries to make this change within their own department. Then their numbers start improving, their people are happier, more engaged, more productive. Suddenly, everyone wants to know what they're doing and how they can emulate that," McCreary says.
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