If you’ve read almost anything I’ve written, you know that I am a big fan of listening to people in the organization when it comes to leading change (and most anything else for that matter.) I just came across a blog post that got me thinking. The writer suggests reverse mentoring. Junior people instruct executives on areas where they might be weak. Apparently, this is what Jack Welch did to get up-to-speed on the Internet and technology applications.
So, I was thinking, what if leaders were to find a few people who had the courage to tell them the truth about how they lead change and the guts to tell the leader where the pitfalls might be. It could make a huge difference. Leaders could see the potential consequences of what they were planning before they left for the parade. In Hans Christian Andersen’s story, it was the child who could see that the emperor was suffering a wardrobe malfunction.
My suggestion. Do this informally. I think it is best if the leader picks his or her own mentors. Since it is so easy for us to blow off feedback (or try to kill the messenger), choosing to receive feedback from someone we are willing to listen to could make all the difference.
Here is a link to that blog: Reverse Mentoring – less used, but potent employee engagement tool