“…the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.”
Jim Yong Kim
President, The World Bank
There is no team member, and certainly no team, who will surpass the commitment to learning and development that is established by their leader. If you are frustrated by the lack of growth, or the lack of commitment to growth, being demonstrated by your team, you must first look at yourself.
The act of learning in organizational life, and the feedback required to enable it, depends totally on the environment created by the leader, one in which he or she demonstrates a personal, living commitment to continuous learning. If there is a “secret sauce” to effective leadership, this is it.
Today, the onus on leaders is to start within, focusing first on their own improvement as a continuous exercise of genuine humility. This practice of humility creates a space for a deeper empathetic sensibility that can then be applied to the leader’s team.
When feedback comes from that place it demonstrates a universal commitment to getting better (We are all in this together!) while also reenforcing the most basic truth of leadership, that leaders go first.
If you are not willing to go first, you are not a leader. If you are not willing to learn continuously, grow continuously, question your personal status quo continuously, you are not a leader.
Once you do so, however, it changes everything. You will no longer dread the discomfort of providing feedback to your team but will instead relish the opportunity to be a catalyst for their growth. Once you normalize a persistent and consistent approach to learning for yourself, you will normalize it for them as well.
As ever, leaders go first.