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Good leaders are constantly striving for excellence. They start with themselves, then raise the bar for their team. It’s a journey that requires a combination of self awareness and growth.
Joni Wickline, Vice President, International Growth with The Ken Blanchard Companies, had a chance to experience both of these things when she recently accepted a new position with her company. Eight months ago, she stepped into a new leadership role supporting a team in Asia Pacific.
It required her to up her game in three critical areas—increased transparency, response to feedback, and commitment to growth.
Here’s what she learned. See if it might help you.
Increased transparency. We take our leaders and clients through a process we call Leadership Point of View where leaders take a look back through their leadership journey—the people and events that have shaped them, their values, and what they expect of themselves and others—and create a story about themselves they can share with people and teams they lead. Because she had the good fortune of going through this process more than seven years ago, she was able to share her Leadership Point of View with her new team. In sharing, she set the stage for each person to have a better understanding of her as their leader that, because of the distance between them, would have taken months if not years to learn through their interactions. How well does your team know you? What could you do to increase your transparency?
Response to feedback. Getting a read on the impact you are having can be a challenge when you are in a position of leadership. Very few people are comfortable speaking truth—especially negative feedback—up the leadership hierarchy. In her case, she was stepping into a new position with a team located across the ocean on another continent with a different culture. How could she create an environment where people would feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their thoughts about change? What was the best approach to being culturally sensitive in China or in Japan? She relied heavily on her internal teammates to guide her. she sought feedback following meetings and also asked for patience from her colleagues as she learned about working in Asia Pacific. Are you comfortable enough to be vulnerable and ask your people for feedback?
Commitment to growth. Growth comes in many forms, including identifying what’s not working, trying on new behaviours, committing to change, and then setting up both the direction and support for doing it all. Through coaching, she was able to practice new behaviours that had been outside of her comfort zone or different from what her typical style would be. She also have continued to seek guidance from people on the Asia team to get their input on how she can best serve them and their colleagues throughout the region.
She knew her growth in the next year would put her leaps ahead of where she is today. It’s exciting to think about how much more equipped she will be to serve the region and the team. In the meantime, she is on a steep learning curve—but one that is backed with a commitment to serve, which will help her make incremental changes that will eventually feel normal and comfortable. How open are you to growth and change?
For her, a commitment to learning, growing, and evolving to meet the needs of her environment is the formula for success. See if it can work for you as well!
About the author:
Joni Wickline is Vice President, International Growth with The Ken Blanchard Companies.
First published on Blanchard LeaderChat
30 August 2016