Lighthouse Leadership Weekly #59: New Book of the Month, Courage over Comfort, and Being a Good Listener

by Jason Evanish, CEO Get Lighthouse, Inc.

Ever read a book so good that it ruins all other similar books? That's this month's Book of the Month.

It's so good, it makes just about every other leadership book seem second rate.

In today’s edition, we reveal what that book is, while also talking about how you can be a courageous leader, a special offer coming soon, and the keys to making your team feel heard.

Let’s dive in…

Table of contents:

🥘 Food for Thought

"We can have courage or we can have comfort, but we cannot have both." - Brené Brown, 6-time NY Times bestselling author, and professor at the University of Houston and UT-Austin.

Do you seek courage, or comfort with your team?

Most leaders when asked, they'll usually say the former, yet, in practice it will be the latter.

Jason Lemkin captures it well through the lens of founders:

No one said it would be easy.

Hearing the feedback you need to hear hurts. It is not fun.

It can bruise your ego, hurt your feelings, or leave you feeling exposed.

It is a SKILL to develop to be able to receive this kind of feedback well.

And it's one of the most important skills you can develop as a leader, especially as you rise in an organization.

You must really listen to feedback, even when delivery is imperfect.

How to accept tough feedback

What does it mean to get better at receiving feedback?

There's a few things you can do:

  • Thank them for the feedback, even if you don't agree with it. This is the simplest way to let them know you recognize their effort to tell you something.
  • Practice Active Listening to make sure you understand the heart of their message. Repeat back to them, in your own words, what you think you heard and give them the opportunity to clarify. (more in this week's Leadership Long Read)
  • Let their feedback marinate, then follow up. The sting of feedback is usually in initially hearing it. Taking some time to reflect can often help you overcome those emotions and make you ready to follow up.
  • Take action on whatever part of it you agree with. You don't have to agree with every bit of feedback you hear, but you should follow through on the parts that are accurate both in your actions, and communicating with the person who gave feedback.
  • Reserve judgment and seek data for parts you disagree with. For the feedback you don't accept, use it as a signal to be more observant going forward. Over time, you may change your mind, if you are open to it.

Taking these steps will make you stand out as a leader. Most managers can barely handle the first step, let alone get through all 5.

Yet, the best leaders do one more thing...

richard brandson good listener

You get more of what you reward

The final thing you can do to truly reinforce to your team that you accept feedback, even when it's hard, is to proactively reward valuable feedback.

It's not enough to avoid shooting the messenger. The best leaders also reward, praise, and thank their team members for doing so.

This is what separates average leaders, who surround themselves and encourage people to be "Yes Men," from the best leaders who actively seek out feedback, problems, and bold ideas.

To reward this type of feedback, you can:

  • Privately message your team member stating how you valued their feedback.
  • Call out the value of your team member's feedback to your whole team in a meeting, so they see it as an example of how they should do it as well.
  • Give new responsibilities, key project assignments, and promotions to those that speak up and give feedback in effective ways. When you do this, it's important to let everyone know this was part of your decision why to do so.

These are just a few ideas. Try what you feel is best, while keeping the spirit of what we're talking about here in mind.

The key is to reward and act on feedback, even when it hurts. It's how you grow as a leader, set a good example for your team, and get the best results on your team's mandates and tasks.

Further reading: Learn more in depth about how to get more feedback from your team here.

📚 Book of the Month on a True Classic Every Manager Must Read

📌 Andy Grove's High Output Management should be on every manager's bookshelf.

Quite often, I get asked some variant of the question, "What's the 1 book you think every leader should read?"

While I find it naive to try to reduce leadership to a silver bullet, sometimes you come across something so exceptional that it stands out above all others.

That's what this month's Book of the Month truly is.

andrew grove high output management

Andy Grove's High Output Management

I've recommended this book more times than I can count. We've given away dozens of copies of this book over the years. And you've probably noticed we've quoted it all over the Lighthouse blog throughout the years.

That's because it really is the best leadership book ever written.

Not only that, it's actually somehow *shorter* than most business books out there. Coming in at about 225 pages it's jam-packed with practical advice and insights, with *none* of the fluff or filler too many business books have today.

Andy Grove walked the talk...

The other thing I love about this book is that Andy Grove isn't some random guru. He helped build Intel, the giant chip manufacturer.

He was CEO during their massive rise, and continued to be involved with leading the company for over a decade, later serving as chairman until 2004.

...and wrote a timeless classic.

While Grove was helping build Intel, he took time to write High Output Management. It was the guide he wanted for the managers inside Intel to lead how he thought was best.

And that guide has really stood the test of time.

Written a stunning 40 years ago (1983!), it's still widely read today.

Any book that stands that long a test of time has something important to say.

At this point, I hope you understand how much I'm endorsing this book. It really does check every box you could want in such a book.

So what are you waiting for?

Pick up your copy and start reading High Output Management now.

🗣️ Coming in 2 Weeks: A Special Run of the 1 on 1 Master Class

We talked last week about it, and the response showed us many of you really want to improve your 1 on 1s.

Very soon you will have your chance.

Get your budget approved and your plan ready, because this is a one-time experiment, which I'm not sure if we'll ever do again.

How it works:

  • For the week of March 17th - March 23rd ONLY the 1 on 1 Master Class will be available.
  • Your program will start the week after, on Thursday, March 28th.
  • You'll be able to purchase for individuals or groups, so tell your friends now.

The Price: $135 for the Solo Edition, $175 for the Group Edition.

Unsure how Lighthouse Lessons works? Review our FAQ here.

Not the best timing for you? Remember that for groups of 10 or more managers you can 1) Pick your program and 2) Choose the best start time for you. Just sign up here.

Unfortunately, last week's "Click to vote" survey got distorted by auto-clicks from spam filters, so the data is inconclusive.

We're taking some time to regroup, and will have a new survey soon.

If you have strong opinions about whether we continue sending a weekly newsletter, or break the sections up into small daily messages, reply and let me know.

PS: Have you read High Output Management yet? It really is a must read. Get your company now of the Book of the Month here.

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Jason Evanish

Jason Evanish

As the founder and CEO of Get Lighthouse, Inc, Jason and the Lighthouse team have helped managers grow their leadership skills in dozens of countries around the world. They’ve worked with a variety of companies from non-profits to high growth startups, and government organizations to well known, publicly traded companies. Jason has also been featured in publications including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.

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