Whether you're a CEO or a mid-level manager, it is important that you have an accurate picture of your leadership skills. This includes personal leadership skills such as organisation and time management, as well as higher level skills including delegation, communication, vision and empowerment of others.
"I'm an excellent leader. I always communicate effectively. I'm visionary and dedicated to results. My employees know just how much I appreciate their contributions to the organisation." Really?
Stop and consider this: If you think you are a great leader in all of these areas, how do you know this is true?
To decrease the gap between your perception and reality, follow these three steps:
1. Build a habit of self-reflection
Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- How do you view yourself as a leader?
- Who has influenced this view?How do you think other people describe you as a leader?
- What are your strengths as a leader?
- What are your weaknesses as a leader?
2. Regularly ask for written feedback from others
You could start by asking a co-worker to answer the 4 questions from #1. Say something like, "I would like to improve my leadership skills. To do this, I need to know how I'm doing from an outside perspective. Would you be willing to provide some feedback about my leadership skills?"
Ask your co-workers about specific projects you were involved in. Ask your boss to provide feedback about your communication during a specific client meeting. Whatever you do, brace yourself for the tough answers - you might think you're doing an excellent job and others may disagree!
Read more: 7 Traits of High-Performance Leadership
3. Utilize a well-rounded assessment
There are also several leadership feedback tools on the market that are worth considering - these tools usually have you assess your leadership skills/behaviours. Then it incorporates the anonymous feedback on the very same things from your team, including your peers, direct reports, and supervisors.
In the end, the comparison between the two perceptions provides a pretty accurate view into your leadership behavior. It confirms what you're doing well as a leader. It also identifies areas where you could benefit from leadership development because there is a large gap between the two perceptions.
Awareness is the first step to behavior change. But many of us don't want to acknowledge that we're not where we want to be. Just because someone avoids the scale doesn't mean they are any less overweight. The same principle applies here. Take the first step and gather an accurate view of your leadership skills. This will set the stage for positive growth that will lead to organisational and personal impact.