One of our clients, an HR Consultant, was called into a large New Zealand owned company by their HR Coordinator. The company decided they wanted to put six of their departmentlevel team leaders through a Leadership Development Program in order to improve their communication, effectiveness of each department, and their bottom line.
Our consultant created a custom Leadership Development Program to achieve the brief given by the company. The first step in the process was to put each of the four managers through an Open 360° Feedback Assessment®. This allowed the managers to receive and give feedback on each other in a positive way. The Open 360° also allowed any direct reports and other team members to give feedback on their manager.
The consultant created an Open 360° unique to the company and included questions that were specifically tailored to the business and their objectives.
The Open 360° included five question groups with each of the aspects linking to one or more of the goals. The response groups chosen by the consultant were; communication, management, motivation, planning, prioritising and delegating. Within each question group there were 4-5 scaled questions and one open question.
An Open 360° was the consultants’ tool of choice as it reveals the cognitive dissonance, also known as blind spots, between the manager’s perceived performance and the actual performance as perceived by the respondents.
After generating the report, the consultant noticed a large gap between the perceived performance of the IT Team Leader himself and his direct reports.
The main issue was associated with the aspect of communication. The Open 360° results suggested that the IT Team Leader lacked informative and detailed descriptions of relevant updates. The consultant noted on Question 46, “provides detailed instructions when communicating important information,” the Team Leader rated himself a positive 2 whereas his direct reports rated him a negative 0.33 in this area of communication.
This corresponded with the feedback from the Open Questions in which one of the Direct Reports wrote that the Team Leader did not provide enough information regarding updates from other departments, as well as important changes in current IT projects the team was working on. Interestingly, the manager also rated himself highly on Question 49 “Stays focused on the situation, issue, or behaviour, not on personalities.” However, direct reports noted that this was not a strong area of communication for the Team Leader, and rated him accordingly. The consultant looked through the feedback from the Open Questions again and saw that one of the team members noted that their Manager often “shuts them down when they asked questions”. This meant the direct reports were often blamed for problems that arose because they did not fully understand the situation.
However, as the manager believed that he provided adequate detail, he explained that he often gets frustrated when his team come to him a couple of days after receiving updates asking questions about the developments. These frustrations lead him to focus on personality rather than the issues at hand.
The total scores and open questions revealed a gap between how the manager believed he communicated and how his team perceived his communication style. As a result the IT Team Leader was made aware that he needed to provide more detail when speaking to his team.
From the results of the Open 360° the HR consultant put together an action plan for the IT Team Leader. Using the Open 360° Feedback Candidates Workbook, the consultant worked with the Team Leader to detail three focus areas of communication that needed development. These included the way he communicated, developing his listening skills and actively creating room for communication. The Team Leader worked to improve the amount of detail he gave to his direct reports, making time to listen to any questions from his team, and actively asking his team if they had any issues throughout the day.
The consultant also worked with the Team Members to implement a few communication procedures. This included members of the team sending an email to schedule a time to work through multiple questions with the team leader, and sending them through to the manager before the meeting so he could prepare some answers. This meant that the Team Leader would not be interrupted numerous times throughout the day.
After a period of 6 months, the company began to notice an increase in productivity and an increase in revenue. This was due to the ability of the IT team to work together more effectively. Other departments also experienced an increase in productivity as well as company-wide effectiveness. The IT manager ensured he was giving adequate information and making himself available when the team needed extra help. This meant the team made fewer mistakes and were able to complete a project more efficiently.
Due to the work of the consultant and the help of the Open 360° the company now has a systematic approach to leadership development which corresponds to the objectives of the business. The IT Team has a mutual understanding of the behavioural style of their Team Leader and the other team members, as well as a selfproclaimed improvement of their communication.
The company conducts Open 360° Feedback Assessments® every year to ensure the company is working efficiently.