How disturbing to discover that your perception of yourself is different than others’ perceptions of you! How do you know what yours are . . . or if you have any? Many leaders assume that all is well until they seek feedback from those closest to them at work.
Executive coaching offers a rare opportunity to find out the candid opinions of those “key stakeholders”—those who won’t offer the feedback you need to hear the most, unless asked in a safe, anonymous way.
The “gift” of feedback
What are those dreaded comments that often come back from key stakeholders? Whether from verbal interviews or anonymous 360 surveys, leaders often have the chance to hear what people really think of them. I often introduce the process as a “gift”. While most leaders say it doesn’t feel like a gift when they first get the feedback, they all agree that after the initial shock, the feedback was enlightening and certainly helped them grow as a leader. Here goes . . . five unexpected feedback comments from raters (peers, bosses, direct reports), based on my 25 years experience in executive coaching.
Most of us know this type of leader well. Some comments that come up frequently include:
- He thinks very highly of himself.
- He talks down to people—he’s very condescending.
- He thinks this is his ship to run.
- His tone of voice and bluntness shuts people down.
This is usually one of the biggest surprises to leaders. Many pride themselves on being good listeners but find out others have different perspectives:
- She asks our opinion but doesn’t listen to what we have to say.
- It doesn’t matter what we say; she ends up doing whatever she wants to anyway.
- Her listening skills need improvement—she comes across like a bully.
Bull in a China Shop
Another common “development” area is the behavior where a leader seems to bulldoze people. Some sample comments:
- She’s pushy and rude; she’s insensitive to people’s feelings.
- She’s aggressive, demanding, insults people.
- She’s demeaning and dismissive of people.
Some leaders fail to share information. Some sample comments:
- He doesn’t tell us what his plans are.
- He doesn’t ask for our input.
- He’s very slow to respond—difficult to get in touch with.
The colorful leader or attention-hog is at the top of the list. Some sample comments:
- She dominates meetings—talks way more than anyone else.
- She interrupts people constantly.
- She’s a drama queen—always wants to be in the spotlight.
What are you potential derailers or blindspots? Have you had a 360 assessment done in the past few years? Have you ever had anonymous feedback gathered about your leadership skills? Muster up the courage needed and give yourself one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever get for becoming a better leader.
For more information please contact Kathy Cooperman, Executive Coach: firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-542-3324, www.kathycooperman.com.© Kathy Cooperman, 2014; All rights reserved.