Feedback can come from many places and the best performers in anything, including leaders, yearn for feedback to continue their improvement. While we often think about feedback from coaching and mentoring, from peers or through other formal or informal conversations, it is important for us to look for feedback in as many ways and from as many places as possible.
Last night, as I watched 60 Minutes I was hit by this important point from what seemed an unexpected place – the lead singer of the ultra-popular, multi-Grammy winning band Coldplay, Chris Martin.
He said during the interview that early in a tour, when trying different songs, he watches the spot under the Exit signs in the large venues in which they play. He explains that he can’t really see people or their faces, but if he sees people under the Exit signs, he knows they are choosing to go the the restroom or get a hot dog. He said that when he sees no silhouettes under the Exit signs, that they band is doing well.
There are two lessons for us as leaders in this story.
One, we can and should be be looking for feedback everywhere we can (and helping those we lead do the same things). The brilliant part about Chris Martin’s Exit sign feedback measure is that it comes in real time. When we can find ways to get feedback in real time we can adjust in time to improve performance on the spot.
The second, equally powerful lesson, is the source of our learning. It might at first seem surprising to get a leadership lesson from a lead singer of an alternative rock band. On the other hand, who better to learn from than a person at the top of his profession who isn’t yet 30 years old?
As you finish and move on with your leadership activities for the day, consider this. . .
Who could you learn from today, in the media, in a book or across the hall that might provide you with a new perspective, and perhaps a new form of feedback?
And what if you created a way to bring fresh perspectives from unexpected places into you organizational leadership development process?
You could start by watching the insightful interview with Chris Martin on 60 Minutes through the prism of leadership.