Developing a culture of authenticity and feedback is a core competency for leadership. The momentum and success of your team depends upon the health of your team. This is nothing new. Patrick Lencioni explores this in-depth in his Five Dysfunctions of a Team (dysfunction #1 being “the absence of trust”). But how do we develop trust on a team? I wholeheartedly believe that it starts with the leader’s authenticity, vulnerability, and ability to develop a culture of honest, helpful feedback. To develop this culture, there are some questions we must answer about ourselves:
- Am I an authentic person? Do I tend toward self-protection or self-disclosure? Why?
- What fears do I struggle with and how do they affect my authenticity and personal leadership?
- Do I invite honest feedback on my leadership style and performance?
- Do I get defensive when presented with solicited or unsolicited feedback? Why or why not? How does this defensiveness manifest itself?
- What can I specifically do to foster a culture of authenticity and feedback?
Personally process through these questions. Take some time to discuss them with a trusted friend or mentor. In your next leadership meeting, take some time to discuss them as a team. And as a result, develop an action plan for becoming more personally and organizationally authentic.
For more resources, I highly recommend some of the team exercises in Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions Field Guide (in this order):
- Personal History (p. 19) – have people share their story
- Behavior Profiling (p. 25) – a tool like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) will help the team understand and describe one another
- Team Effectiveness Exercise (p. 64) – have the team answer these two questions about each other: (1) What is the single most important behavioral characteristic or quality demonstrated by this person that contributes to the strength of our team? (2) What is the single most important behavioral characteristic or quality demonstrated by this person that can sometimes derail our team? (WARNING: ensure that you have enough personal trust as a team to do this exercise and understand where and why the exercise can go “sideways” before you do it).
Question: What do you personally do to develop a culture of authenticity & feedback on your team?