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Guest AuthorMarshall Goldsmith

To Help Others Develop, Start With Yourself

Source | Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

Great leaders encourage leadership development by openly developing themselves.

Listen to what General Mills CEO Steve Sanger recently told 90 of his colleagues: “As you all know, last year my team told me that I needed to do a better job of coaching my direct reports. I just reviewed my 360-degree feedback. I have been working on becoming a better coach for the past year or so. I’m still not doing quite as well as I want, but I’m getting a lot better. My coworkers have been helping me improve. Another thing that I feel good about is the fact that my scores on ‘effectively responds to feedback’ are so high this year.”

While listening to Steve speak so openly to coworkers about his efforts to develop himself as a leader, I realized how much the world has changed. Twenty years ago, few CEOs received feedback from their colleagues. Even fewer candidly discussed that feedback and their personal developmental plans. Today, many of the world’s most respected chief executives are setting a positive example by opening up, striving continually to develop themselves as leaders. In fact, organizations that do the best job of cranking out leaders tend to have CEOs like Steve Sanger who are directly and actively involved in leadership development. That has certainly been my experience. This has also been confirmed by a recently completed research project led by Marc Effron at Hewitt Associates, one of the largest HR consulting firms. Hewitt and Chief Executive magazine put General Mills on their latest list of the top-20 companies for leaders, among such familiar names as IBM and General Electric.

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