October 28, 2005
LeadU NEWS
Vol. 2, No. 43

Published Weekly on Fridays
By Leadership University

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From the Founder – Mike R. Jay, Master Business Coach
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Leadership Disclosure vs. Feedback

Over the past few years, I’ve studied a lot of developmental research from a variety of disciplines. What I found was that feedback is often given without permission, provided as fear, threat or embarrassment—surely food for the amygdale—and that feedback was poorly structured, in other words, not actionable.

I’m not going into how to give feedback appropriately, I’ll save that for another time. However, I did want to speak about a clear difference between feedback and disclosure. I use disclosure as part of my ENGAGEMENT model, that I write and speak about in my forthcoming book CPR for the SOUL: Creating Personal Resilience by Design.

In studying developmental research, I found three things that are key to engagement: discovery, disclosure and acceptance.

Contrary to feedback, which is almost always directed at the person, disclosure is almost always directed “with” the person as a part of a discovery process that they participate in with permission. We can’t say enough about getting permission. I believe it’s always best done on the front-end, rather than forcing people to accept feedback in the face of fear, threat or embarrassment.

The ENGAGEMENT process to me is much easier on people and while people are allowed to enter that process voluntarily, rather than by edit, I feel it makes it big difference with people in terms of the safety and quality of discovery, disclosure and acceptance.

The big difference between feedback and disclosure processes is a shift in the fear, threat and embarrassment level--the level that often triggers the reptile brain. What most practitioners fail to take into consideration is the fact that people are different. Fully half the people out there are introverts, who 5 main differences lie along these continuums from EXTRAVERSION – INTROVERSION:

INITIATING - RECEIVING
EXPRESSIVE - CONTAINED
GREGARIOUS - INTIMATE
ACTIVE - REFLECTIVE
ENTHUSIASTIC - QUIET

It becomes clear to me, that feedback given to someone who by nature, or preference is “receiving, contained, intimate, reflective and quiet” is going to be different than one whose nature or preference is: “initiating, expressive, gregarious, active and enthusiastic.”

If you don’t think this makes a huge difference, then realize that ‘introverts’ work in the outer world with their auxiliary function; which means that essentially, they are working out in the world with “one-arm” tied behind their back. Few people realize this when they line everyone up for 360 degree feedback, or a group debrief in meetings, strategy sessions and appraisals.

Yes, there is a big difference between feedback and disclosure for just these reasons.

Yet, even bigger a reason is the fact that few people even seek, want, or can hear feedback provided to them by most people. And when they do hear it, it’s almost always considered a threat, a fear or embarrassment. So much for feedback as the breakfast of champions, unless you consider throwing-up your food healthy.

Working with people in ENGAGEMENT requires a system of iteration that identifies clear leverage around discovery, disclosure and acceptance which is often customized in terms of amount, intensity, timing and method.

Here’s to disclosure and ENGAGEMENT,

Mike R. Jay, Founder


P.S. Please visit my blog
http://www.integraleader.com/ to comment on this and
other articles about leadership.

P.P.S. Mike's private, member-only blog is available to those who wish to join, at their own risk: http://www.ontheprofessionaledge.com/founder

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