LEADERS SEEK FEEDBACK AND DEMONSTRATE TRANSPARENCY
I announced in this newsletter several weeks ago that my wife and I would be taking a two-week trip to Israel. We just returned after an amazing adventure throughout that country, learning about history, philosophy, religion, and politics.
In the course of our travels, we saw that the country is significantly divided about recent judicial reform proposals made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His plan would give the executive branch greater control over the judicial branch of the Israeli government.
While many in Netanyahu’s party support his proposals, a significant percentage of the population opposes the ideas so strongly that they participated in significant demonstrations for several weeks prior to our arrival. These nonviolent demonstrations throughout the country motivated Netanyahu to pause his plans to consider modifications.
This newsletter is certainly not the place for me to offer my opinions on politics in Israel. However, what is transpiring over there right now reminds me of a leadership lesson I learned decades ago: Leaders should be transparent with their plans and seek feedback as widely as possible within their teams and organizations.
Interestingly, Netanyahu did not share his judicial reform proposals with the populace while he was running for Prime Minister. Only after his coalition was formed and finalized and he was sworn in as Prime Minister did he articulate his plans for changing the country’s judiciary.
Why didn’t he share his plans as part of the platform on which he was running? I do not know the answer to that question. However, I do know from experience that leaders can benefit significantly when we share our ideas and proposals with our teammates early on in any planning process.
When we are transparent and share our ideas up front:
-We can gain time to confide in those people we trust the most
-We can collect suggestions for ways to improve our proposals
-We can learn about our blind spots in the plans that would engender serious opposition
-We can collect input that would strengthen our plan before it is officially announced
-We can make time for thought and reflection to consider missing pieces
-We can demonstrate our desire to collect feedback early, increasing the trust level between our teammates and ourselves
-We can seek early support from critical teammates who command the respect of others
-We can demonstrate leadership humility, not assuming our plan is “the best” plan
-We can explain how our proposal fits into our broader leadership agenda
-We can show how our proposal benefits internal and external stakeholders
-We can use all feedback collected to strengthen our plans and thank teammates for their thoughtful responses
By being transparent about new plans and seeking input from all affected parties, we can show our teammates that we value their opinions and that we hear them loud and clear. When our teammates feel heard, they will be more likely to support our final plan, whether they agree or disagree with its substance.
Everybody wants to feel heard.