Assess Your Leadership Effectiveness
When it comes to leadership effectiveness, information is power. So gathering all the facts about how you’re doing as a leader — and then using that information to your advantage — is key to your success. Be proactive in determining what’s working and what’s not. Seek feedback from co-workers and colleagues. Look for common themes that improve your understanding about how you’re really performing and managing. The fact-finding mission will pay off, unlocking an otherwise hidden opportunity to move your career ahead.
No matter how good you feel about your leadership, it’s still critical to examine your own performance and style periodically. Shift your attention from others to yourself for a change, making YOU the focus. And when you do it, keep these few points in mind:
Avoid the “I am who I am” mentality. This is that classic, “nothing’s gonna change” mindset that you’ve probably seen with mediocre leaders. In a professional environment, it’s stifling, sometimes toxic and a common career derailer. Meanwhile, great leaders embrace challenging strategies that deliver growth and improvement. They revel in becoming more effective in whatever they’re doing, saying or being. To join those ranks, you must embrace the “be open to change” mindset, move out of your comfort zone, and start taking steps to sharpen your leadership potential.
Remember, facts are friendly but sometimes painful, too. I remember the first time I asked for feedback from my direct reports. My division was number-one in the company, and it seemed like a good time to get some glowing feedback from my direct reports. But to my shock, it wasn’t so flattering. I recall sitting at my desk, feeling hurt, angry and sad. But after I processed a whole range of emotions, I realized they were right. The criticism was legitimate. I needed to change and committed to doing so. The lesson? Always take the good with the bad, and realize all feedback is a gift. Learn and grow from it, and you’ll become a better leader.
Keep your confidence about you. In assessing your leadership effectiveness, be smart about how and when you gather the information. Do it too little, and people think you’re stuck in that “I am who I am” mindset mentioned above. Do it too much, and folks will peg you as insecure, unstable or weak. The key is to be strategic about how you conduct your fact-finding mission. Make it a formal, rather than random, part of your management program. For example, after giving a seminar, provide an anonymous survey as a part of routine follow up. Avoid the temptation to go running around after the event, asking everyone how you did. Incorporate that same strategy into how you manage feedback with your direct reports or clients. Carefully time when and how you collect the data, and don’t bombard people with personal queries. It sends a message that you doubt your potential and need a constant pat on the back.
What are some good tips to help leaders assess their effectiveness?