Openness helps build trust and engagement in people and is increasingly recognised as a key component of successful leadership.
There are many ways a leader can build greater strength in being an open leader. However, they first must recognise their own levels of openness and appreciate the impact it has on their effectiveness and relationships.
As a leader, how do you reliably know your attitude and openness to feedback and change?
One tool that can assist a leader when reflecting and deepening their self-awareness and effectiveness as an open leader is the Engage tool. The Engage model outlined below, focuses on a leader’s present state which can be changed and developed.
“Unlike many other tools which measure behaviours, Engage differs in that it measures things which underpin behaviours, rather than the behaviours themselves. This facilitates a deeper insight into mindset and allows the non-psychologist to work safely with psychological constructs. Engage offers benchmark data and provides guidance on the development solutions. It is highly versatile and suitable for use at any grade or level and can be used to complement existing methods, or as a stand-alone measure. As a 'state-based' measure it provides the unique opportunity to measure degree of shift across time points”
- Engage Report
Engage is therefore a powerful online diagnostic for a leader to not only know but reliably track progress in developing Openness.
Openness As A Key Component
In the Engage model, Openness is one of the key components in engagement with work, alongside Confidence and Impact. It is broken down into the following:
As a leader, one can be cautious when communicating, resistant to being questioned, fail to listen and / or not respect views of others. On the other end of the scale, a leader can be open and honest when communicating, willing to be questioned, listen well, and / or show interest and respect with different viewpoints.
Do you know where you presently sit on this continuum?
At one end of the scale a leader could be perceived as distant, unapproachable, unwilling to disclose personal information and vulnerability and / or showing a lack of concern for needs and feelings of others. At the other end, a leader could be experienced as friendly, approachable, willing to disclose personal information and vulnerability and show concern for needs and feelings of others. There are points between these extremes.
How are you perceived?
A leader who is described as unreceptive to development, who feels threatened when challenged, avoids feedback, dislikes change or new situations, will have different levels of success from a leader who comes across as receptive and enthusiastic about development, open to being challenged, welcomes feedback and who embraces change.
Where you would presently be placed on this continuum?
A leader can be unwilling to adapt, inflexible in new, situations and / or demonstrate a rigid approach to change. Another leader can be willing to adapt, highly flexible in new situations and demonstrate a high degree of comfort with change.
In the current uncertain business environment, would you like to know and take action to improve your effectives in being an adaptive leader?
A leader’s attitude shapes their feelings and behaviour. A negative attitude, such as low levels of motivation and likelihood of low expectations of benefits of development, is at one end of the scale.
At the other end is a positive attitude, which includes high levels of motivation, and high expectations of benefits of development.
A leader who knows where they lie on the continuum has an opportunity to choose whether their present attitude suits their leadership requirement and to undertake personal development to change their state on their own or with the support, possibly by a leadership coach.
There is no right state for all individuals in all situations. However, a leader is responsible for knowing their own current ‘state’ and the impact it may be having on those they lead.
Engage Highlights Interaction Between Openness and Other Constructs
Engage reveals in a structured manner, the interaction between the different elements of the Openness construct with other constructs.
A personal development plan (PDP) template in the Engage Self-Development Report would enable a leader to undertake development actions and review progress.
A leader’s development in attitude and openness also impacts their relationships with their team. This increased capacity to tune into the ‘state’ of each person in the team enables more effective teamwork and development, with further potential to unlock awareness of this “state” within the team.
Action is clearly required for leaders who scores are on the lower scale. Not so clear is where a strength at the top end of the scale can be overplayed, possibly leading to fatigue, burnout for the leader and negative consequences for the team.
For example, a super-motivated and adaptable leader could easily lose sight of the real difficulties faced by team members who rely on external motivators and who are fearful of change.
Similarly, a leader who measures extremely high on the communication scale would be comfortable in this strength. Such a leader could however get bogged down in discussion and listening to the team, at the expense of deciding and taking action to achieve results.
Over the years, we have worked with teams that are quick to blame individuals for taking risks that fail. Such teams tended to be overcautious, conceal errors and miss opportunities to learn lessons and develop. The culture in these places were set by past or present leaders and they would have benefitted from Engage to reveal the underlying attitude and openness to the behaviours shaping the culture in the organisation.
In conclusion, Openness engenders trust and a leader’s self-awareness of the ‘state’ of their openness, can impact their own levels of engagement and the impact on others.
We have several experienced coaches, accredited to administer and coach leaders and their teams using the Engage Model, and we can assist you to achieve improvement and justify your investment too.
Contact Us Today
To find out more, call us today on 0800 345 7727 for a no-obligation consultation.
Written by accredited leadership and team coaches Joseph and Simone.