35W Bridge and Leadership
My wife Lisa and I visited the site of the 35W bridge collapse last evening. Being there and seeing it was an awe-filled experience. We have traveled the bridge countless times. Certainly it is a tradgedy for many, especially for the family and friends who lost loved ones. Currently much research is being done on “why” the bridge failed.
One of the main theories of why the bridge collapsed is that the center connecter plates or gusset plates were cracked. Thus, they were no longer able to do their job of holding the steel beams together. However, it wasn’t that no one knew they were weak. Investigations and documents of the cracking and instabilities were reported. The problem is that the feedback was not taken seriously.
Many leaders have the same problem. They are unwilling to seek or accept feedback that would help them be stronger. Arrogance, pride, defensiveness, and embaressment often stand in the way of finding and taking feedback that could help a leader be stronger. Without accountablility and feedback we often lose our foundation. Seeking and acknowledging feedback, and then taking steps to improve, might keep you and I from personal and organizational disaster. What are some ways to get needed feedback?
1. Develop an accountability group that genuinely wants the best for each other. Ask tough questions, then listen.
2. Use a good 360 degree feedback survey. (email firstname.lastname@example.org for recommendations)
3. Ask co-workers, supervisors, clients, and even your spouse how you might serve them better.
4. Become sensative and aware of how you communicate. Become a student of interpersonal communication and empathy.