(By Jeff Boss)
“Whether it’s a decision, a task or a meeting, too much emotional investment opens the door to greater self-interest, and when self-interest is involved, so are egos. If there’s one thing we don’t need any more of, it’s ego. There’s plenty of ego to go around. An objective focus on task and purpose speaks for itself, as the more decisive you are towards the greater purpose of the organization, the more others will grow to trust you and your decision-making“.
Everybody likes feedback. Moreover, they like feedback about themselves. We like to know where we stand with people whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. After all, soliciting somebody for help or advice is contingent upon the strength of that relationship.
As hard as it is to hear bad news, the candor associated with constructive criticism only strengthens one’s value proposition because he or she becomes more self-aware, and self-awareness is half the battle of any personal challenge. Feedback, however, doesn’t have to rely solely on outside perspectives. You can create your own personal feedback loop—and hence build self-awareness—through self-reflection. If you want to aim high and improve performance (who doesn’t?) but aren’t sure where you stand amongst your colleagues, ask yourself the below five questions every day prior to commencing any task to take your performance to the next level:
Question: Am I performing up to expectations, or exceeding them?
Don’t just do what is asked of you— do more. Always go above and beyond the request of others to demonstrate you can. Doing so conveys two things. First, it sends the message that you’re willing to go the extra mile for somebody, which means you’re not only that person’s new best friend but also his or her new “go-to” to get things done. Second, it shows the skill that you can. A monkey can perform up to standards but if you want to be king of your jungle and hone your skill, subject matter expertise, and network influence, then you need to raise the bar and set new standards.
Question: Is the information I share relevant?
There are two aspects of relevance here to consider:
1) Content. Is the information you want to share accurate and timely?
2) Audience ADNC +0.65%. Does it serve the target audience?
Here’s another consideration to boost performance. To stay in the information game, shift your mindset from one of passing information (reactive) to anticipating developments (proactive). Doing so serves three purposes. First, it forces you to critically think about the current situation, consider potential impacts and how each course of action potentially affects everyone involved. Second, it breeds the same forethought in others, thus building collective attention. Finally, if you choose to voice your opinion with others, they’ll know where you stand and what you stand for.
Question: What’s my emotional investment?
Whether it’s a decision, a task or a meeting, too much emotional investment opens the door to greater self-interest, and when self-interest is involved, so are egos. If there’s one thing we don’t need any more of, it’s ego. There’s plenty of ego to go around. An objective focus on task and purpose speaks for itself, as the more decisive you are towards the greater purpose of the organization, the more others will grow to trust you and your decision-making.
Question: Am I serving my organization’s intent?
If you’re unsure of your company’s purpose, then a much larger discussion needs to be had with leadership. Otherwise, attrition rates will soar because employees aren’t being optimized simply because they don’t know what to optimize for. In the book The Strategy Focused Organization, the authors cite “only 7 percent of employees today fully understand their company business strategies and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve company goals” (source here). If you’re a leader within a company, department, or team, then it is your responsibility to communicate direction and listen to employee feedback. The two go hand-in-hand, as direction without feedback is simply dictatorship.
Question: How do I become better at this?
Practice. Practice. Practice. To become better at anything requires unending vigilance. In the SEAL Teams, our daily routine varied. One day we focused on one capability, the next day on another. Each morning, however, we would do two things that served as the bread and butter of our effectiveness: We exercised and we shot. No matter what the mission was, we needed to be able to A) get there and B) put rounds on target.
Don’t get me wrong, not all teams did this. Physical training (PT) was never mandated at my past command but rather served as an expectation. But overall, exercise was just something each member enjoyed for himself as he knew it benefitted him personally and professionally. Same went for shooting. We did both because it fit our purpose, which was to get to the target and win, and we couldn’t do that if we were unfit or if the enemy outperformed us on the battlefield.
What’s the one thing that, if you performed daily, would make you better in your role as a leader? Manager? Father or mother?
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