Anyone logged into Twitter Sunday night would have noticed a frenzy of suspicions regarding the source of the Superdome #poweroutage. Did Beyonce’s bedazzling performance overload a circuit breaker? Was Bane getting ready to make his entrance, to invite citizens of New Orleans to reclaim their city? Were the Puppy Bowl players the culprits of the post-half-mischief? Whatever the cause of the blackout may have been, San Francisco was able to recharge and regroup during the short delay. Perhaps we should pay attention not to what caused the outage, but to what happened during.
We often see the same type of pause happen as we work with leaders who encounter new information about themselves through 360-degree feedback. Some experience a “lights out” moment when confronted with evidence from co-workers that their performance is not what they thought it was. These leaders can choose to panic, stress, and retreat, or they can elect to relax, reflect, and regroup in the face of unexpected feedback.
- Relax—Instead of letting the downtime become overwhelming, leaders should stay calm. They need to treat the unexpected shift, the surprising feedback as a gift provided by people who care about them and their performance.
- Reflect—Like San Francisco, leaders should use times of trial and lack of rhythm as an opportunity to reevaluate their internal thought processes, priorities, and principles.
- Regroup—After some time for reflecting, leaders must develop a personal plan of action that will enable them to play the game with improved execution. Leaders that act with a clear purpose and share their development plans with others will immediately change perceptions for the better.
When the lights went out at the Superdome, the rhythm of the game was broken and everyone was left in the dark. Similarly, when leaders encounter unexpected personal feedback, the initial shock can cause them to stop and question the source of the information. When the lights came back on, it was an entirely new game. San Francisco’s team, in its own element, started playing its best by relaxing, reflecting, and regrouping.
What do you do as a leader when confronted with information contrary to your self-perception? What is the best way to react to unexpected feedback? Let us know in the comments.