As one of the committee members of the promotion board, I was amazed at the differences in the quality of the packages. Assigned 15 candidates it was easy to eliminate 5 pretty quickly.

The candidates used only a fraction of the space allotted to describe their achievements. The description of the achievements did not rise to the level of grade they were competing for. In fact, the package focused on how well they fit into to the company culture rather than measurable impact.

The first thought to come to mind was; Did the individual submitting the package understand the requirements for promotion to this grade?

What about you? Where are you in the promotion cycle? Are you competitive and do you understand the requirements for promotion?

Maybe it is time for a promotion checkup to assess your current trajectory. Here are some considerations.

First. Do you have a trajectory? Most professionals I work with focus on horizons from 1-2 years. Pick a horizon that makes sense and create a vision on what you want it to look like.

Second. Write down what is required to be promoted. My clients have found this to be enlightening. For some, it required a pivot to get on the path to promotion. Typical pivots; a lateral move for more experience, seeking additional education, training, or search for a new opportunity. The determination was that maintaining the status quo was not the path to promotion.

Action Steps

Set your vision. Pick when you will be promoted.

Analyze the requirements

This step takes some work. Here are some methods to determine and analyze the requirements. Take the perspective of a committee member on your promotion board and develop the following:

  • The measurable performance required to be promoted
  • The leadership skills required to be promoted
  • The risk associated with promoting you
  • The business case for your promotion

 The Measurable Performance Required to be Promoted

Write down the specific requirements to be promoted. After listing some of the obvious criteria, this becomes a revealing exercise. Many professionals do not have an accurate picture of what it takes to get promoted. Go find it. Seek out the requirements by asking key people.

  • Ask what your organization is looking for in its leaders
  • Understand the strategic direction
  • Listen to the leadership of your organization

You may be amazed at what you learn.

The Leadership Skills Required to be Promoted

Yes, there is some overlap with the previous area however, this is a critical item by itself. Is your organization looking to promote innovators willing to take risks or leaders that play it safe and can maintain the current pace?

How do you fit in with your next level peers? Are you seen as currently operating at that level with rapport or will you be seen as a newcomer that needs to prove you belong? Document leadership you demonstrated in the past.

What does this investigation tell you? Are you a fit and have you demonstrated the required skills?

The Risk Associated with Promoting You

This is a difficult self-assessment. What are the risks of promoting you? If this is a stretch position, risk is a concern. How well equipped are you for the challenges at the next level? This will be a specific topic covered by the team talking about your promotion.

Make the Business Case for Your Promotion

This is the bottom line. Take the three steps above, analyze the data, and measure yourself against the criteria.

Does the data support a positive return on the organization investing in you? This is the crux of the discussion that will take place on whether to promote you or not. A positive return on investment and you will be promoted.

If you have diligently executed this exercise, you know what it takes to get promoted. You just developed a clear path forward.

I think I heard you say “No one”.

Many supervisors and those being evaluated regularly vocalize their negative sentiments toward the process. Both see it as a stressful time, with potentially a lot riding on it such as promotions or bonuses.

This is a topic that pops up around midyear. Just in time for graduation season.

Think about evaluations when you are in school. At all levels of education, you are in a mode of constant evaluations. Each course has different methods to evaluate; tests, quizzes, papers, presentations, and group projects to continually assess your progress.


To see if we are on track and measure progress throughout the term rather than waiting for the end of the semester. In most academic settings we can calculate our grades at any time. Why? Because it works and informs the student and instructor on performance.

If this works and is so tested over time, why do so many organizations rely on semi-annual or annual performance evaluations for our work? Ever been surprised by an evaluation. In my opinion that should never happen. We should always know where we stand and not have to wait until the final report card for our performance.

How does your organization handle performance evaluations? Annually, semi-annually, or more frequently?  If you have long periods between evaluations, how can you make the evaluation process less stressful?

I have been working with a client frustrated with the performance evaluation system at her company. She has decided to take control of how she evaluates her direct reports and fit it into her semi-annual reporting system. Her goals are to reduce the stress, make evaluations a continuous process, and have her direct reports own more of the process.

Here is her implementation plan:

She is “flipping the script” on evaluations by making her direct reports responsible for:

  • Writing the initial draft of the evaluation criteria
  • Scheduling and leading regular evaluations of their own performance

The result she is after is a continuous and accurate evaluation of her direct reports performance that they own. Lastly, that performance is based on specific criteria created and agreed upon by her and the direct report.

Setting the criteria:

  • The person being evaluated is responsible for facilitating a series of two or three meetings to establish the criteria they will be evaluated against.
  • Criteria will be based on results not activities
    • e. reducing error rates, reducing customer service calls, creating repeat business
  • The direct report and supervisor must agree on the criteria

Leading the evaluation progress

  • The direct report schedules regular meetings to evaluate their progress, two to four-week intervals is her starting point
  • The person being evaluated leads the meetings

What are the expected outcomes?

She is expecting the process will create more of a partnership and an ongoing conversation about professional performance. Additionally, it will provide opportunities for her direct reports to own the process, ask for assistance, and build rapport and trust.

Evaluations will be less top-down and more of a collaborative objective process aimed at the growth of each individual. No surprises. Everyone knows how they stand at any time.

We are looking forward to see how this new process works out.

This is one leader’s approach.

What would be the impact on your organization if you could remove the angst associated with annual reviews? If you have a methodology that works, please share them with our community so we can learn from you.

This past year is certainly one for the record books. How are you evaluating it? What does your scoreboard and stat sheet look like? As we come to the close of 2020, I want to offer you some considerations on how to gauge the year.

Here are two questions I use to assist leaders getting started in their evaluation of the past year:

  • What are you measuring?
  • How are you measuring it?

I recommend you consider examining yourself as a whole person both personally and professionally.

Here are eight categories that many of my clients examine at the start of a coaching engagement:

  1. Professional position
  2. Leadership
  3. Wealth
  4. Health
  5. Relationship
  6. Fun & Leisure
  7. Personal Growth
  8. Giving back or spirituality

If this is your first time doing this; these eight categories are a good starting place. As you continue to work on these evaluations, you will find yourself migrating to more or specific areas of interest. For example, in “personal growth” you will likely add specific sub-areas you are working on. “Contribution or spirituality” turns into the specific area are you most concerned with. To get started, the general categories work.

Next, decide how you want to measure each category. Having both a quantitative (number) and a qualitative (condition, feeling, or attribute) can be helpful. In my experience the qualitative assessments work best tied to the feelings, emotions, or motivations.

Here are several examples:


This usually takes a couple of iterations to get it in a form that you are comfortable with. Then is starts to grow. It becomes specific, detailed, and increasingly meaningful the more you work with it. From there it turns into creating next year’s goals in the exact same format.

It is interesting to sum up an evaluation with a single overall statement on how you have progressed this year. Craft a paragraph that captures where you were at the beginning, where you are now, and what the change says about you. Celebrate the successes, highlight accomplishments, and plan to capitalize on what worked.

What have I found:

  • 2020 had a lot of positives
  • Individuals have grown, shown resiliency, tenacity, and creativity they did not know existed
  • Families spent more time together

I think you will be surprised at the positives you find. This is your starting place for the upcoming year. The next question is:“What do you need to accomplish in 2021 to feel successful?”

Want to start your year off right? Check out how a coaching subscription can help you become a better leader and find success.

“She is so much stronger in her team leadership than she gives herself credit. She is the one leading the team, although she is doing it pretty quietly.”

“He has no idea how he comes across.”

“If he knew what everyone else thinks about his one-on-one meetings, he would be disappointed.”

Can you relate to any of the above statements or is it possible one of the statements describe you? The common thread: the individuals are not self-aware. They do not understand their capability, how they come across, or the impact they are having on others in the workplace.

Suppose one of those statements described you, would you want to know?  How can you develop self-awareness without getting direct verbal feedback? My experience with clients is that it takes deliberate practice.

How to get the data? In working with leaders to get better at their self-awareness we work on gathering data in three areas: Values, emotions, and behaviors. A little description on each.

Values are the beliefs held by every individual that are most important. Those beliefs provide motivation, define what is right or wrong, and how one should act. The fulfillment or violation of values triggers strong emotions. We therefore feel our values with the emotion it evokes. Lastly, we all have behaviors that we adhere to and expect others to adhere to when fulfilling a value.

More simply:

Values = motivation

Emotions = how you feel about the adherence to a value

Behavior = the focus of an individual’s action and energy to fulfill a value

Motivations drive behaviors, the actions at the start of this article are being driven by the values of the individual. To build a better understanding of your behaviors, explore your values.

Let’s start. What motivates you? A typical answer is, doing things I am good at or like to do. Therefore, examine your tendencies, likes, strengths, and what makes you happy. Here are several assessments/surveys that I regularly use to help build that understanding: Strength Finders 2.0 now also known as Clifton Strengths Finders by Gallup. VIA character strengths prioritizes your character strengths. The Authentic Happiness assessment, implicit bias assessment and Angela Duckworth’s Grit Scale can be enlightening. This list just scratches the surface, a simple google search will reveal more. I also use formal assessments such as Emotional Intelligence and The Hogan Assessment suite to provide a wealth of data to an individual.

So, you took some assessments and started building your self-awareness picture. Usually this is not earth shattering but reaffirms and raises your awareness of data you already knew. Now how about building to the skills to assess yourself in real time. I call this method, “Being a spectator of yourself”. This is learning to be engaged with an individual while monitoring and assessing yourself simultaneously. The concept is simple, the execution takes some practice.

We are immersed in our own perspective, this practice has you assess yourself from other perspectives. Here is how to start. During personal interactions consider three other perspectives:

  • the person you are interacting with
  • a third party (a boss, peer, or subordinate) observing the interaction
  • a fly on the wall seeing the interaction at a distance

If you took a few seconds during an interaction to consider one or more of the above, how might it inform you? Use these three questions to assist you:

  • What is the impact I am having on this individual?
  • What would my boss/peer/direct reports see if they observed this interaction?
  • What would an individual not related to the situation observing this interaction tell me?

Using these or similar questions to evaluate others perspectives has created a mindset of analyzing one’s behavior. It has made leaders I worked with to pause, assess their motivations, get emotions in check, and be deliberate about behaviors.

Assessments, coupled with reflection, and a methodology to gain real time feedback has proven to be an invaluable tool to build self-awareness.

How might you develop and incorporate this skill into your toolbox?

You heard what she said but you still did not fully grasp the gravity of her feelings. Your coworker kept telling you, you said you got it but you really did not. Then finally two days later in a moment it came to you. “Now I understand, why that was so important to her. How could I have not understood?”

I have had many moments where I am not working on anything in particular and I have an aha moment. A total realization on why something worked or a crystallization and understanding of a concept I did not previously grasp. What causes that to happen?

It is reflection and processing. Our minds are an incredible organ that we cannot shut off. It is continually working even when we do not realize it. Constantly processing information, emotions, and feelings in the background. That is where the learning really occurs. That is why reflection is such an important part of leadership development. Reflection allows you to learn and understand.

What are your reflection habits? When and how do you take the time to reflect on your leadership development? Suppose you were more deliberate in your reflection process, what difference would that make? High performing organizations and individuals have incorporated deliberate reflection into their DNA.


Sports teams and individual athletes have video and statistics completely integrated into their performance models. At the college level and above, video is part of the daily routine. Football teams grade each player using video. The players meet with coaches to reflect and evaluate their performance. All to improve performance.

In military aviation every flight is meticulously debriefed and evaluated to get maximum learning. I have personally been in debriefs that took longer than the flights. Other members of the military conduct debriefings and submit lessons learned from training and real-world operations. A deliberate and active form of reflection.

What high performing team have you been part of? Was reflection part of the learning model? I will bet that it was. The reflection process for high performers has two components:

  1. It is deliberate and practiced regularly
  2. It is a conversation built on a positive relationship

Deliberate and practiced means it is a routine. The positivity of the relationship is critical. We do not listen well in a strained relationship. Remember the goal is better performance, you are listening and working together to improve.

Great you say, that is when I have someone to work with. What about self-reflection?

I contend you need the same two elements; a regular practice and a conversation built on a positive relationship.

Now let me ask you, who is helping you self-reflect on your performance as a leader most often? For me it is the gremlin in my head providing the reflection. You know who I am talking about. The gremlin is the source of that ongoing conversation.

What is the relationship you have with your gremlin? Is it positive, do you listen intently, is it an honest conversation? Often the conversation is dishonest, demanding, and overly critical. Honest self-reflection is a skill required to develop as a leader and we have to train our gremlin(s) to be helpful.

Here are some thoughts and considerations on self-reflection and gremlin(s) training:

  • Build self-reflection into your daily routine.
  • Be deliberate after learning events or activities (books, podcasts, presentations, challenges)
  • Develop a framework such as standard questions
    • What did I learn from this? What worked well? What did not? What do I need to start doing? Keep doing? Stop doing?
  • Capture your learning
    • A short journal entry, running list, goal setting
  • Evaluate your performance against a realistic criterion
  • Look behind you to see how far you have come, not just how far you have to go
  • Set goals in small increments; 0.5% better each day, is over 175% a year.
  • Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone else
    • Remember this conversation is building a relationship with yourself

This type of self-reflective thought has the potential to generate frequent moments of learning, from mild reinforcement to revelations and breakthroughs. Turn your gremlin into your advocate and grow as a leader.

Bobby feels his performance is worthy of promotion after two years in his job. Today he had a conversation with his boss during his semi-annual review and brought up the topic. His boss’s response was that he has not shown the leadership expected of one ready to be promoted.

His first thought was; Leadership, I am buried in the organization, how in the world am I supposed to show leadership? So, he asked, “what should I be doing?”. The answer was not very encouraging. She told him to do the things that leaders do and be visible.

Understandably, he left her office frustrated. His thoughts: I need more specific guidance. I don’t know what she is talking about and by the way, whatever I do will not work since I am not in charge.

It is not uncommon for me to hear such stories from clients looking to progress in their careers. The question they want to be answered is: How can I lead when I am not in charge? To that I have them address two essential questions:

  1. How am I leading myself?
  2. How am I seen as a leader today?

Leaders must be comfortable with leading themselves before becoming comfortable leading others. In reality, every leader has to answer to someone. How did they get to their position? They probably demonstrated some leadership acumen prior to promotion.

Let’s transition from Bobby to you. I propose starting by writing your definition of leadership. After all, that is what you are after isn’t it? Here is mine:

“The art of positively influencing others to unite and achieve common goals”

Here is an assessment of my definition. First, leadership is an art, not a science, everyone does it differently, using their own techniques and methods. Second, it is about influencing others. Leadership is not about standing in front and giving directions; it is about being a positive influence. Lastly, it’s uniting others to accomplish a common objective. To me the most important elements of this definition are that leadership is about influence and accomplishment, not position and accomplishment. That means anyone at any level can be a leader.

What is your definition of leadership?


What are its key elements?


Congratulations. You just created a vision for your leadership. My assumption is your definition said more about motivating, inspiring, and shaping others than about your position or authority level.

Now, assess yourself to determine a realistic view of you, the leader. What are your skills, tendencies, likes/dislikes, and strengths? Measure yourself against your definition. On a scale of 1-10 grade yourself on leading yourself.

Next, how well do you meet your definition with others? How do we determine that? We ask what is it like to be on the receiving end of your leadership. We ensure you address how well you lead yourself. For me, I ask how well I influence, unite, and achieve results when leading others. Because they are the key elements of my definition. What do you need to ask?

That is the starting point. Step two, build a leadership development plan. It includes goal setting, specific skills to develop, reading to complete, and most importantly actions to take, assess, and be accountable to.

So, how do you lead when you are not in charge?

You develop your ability to influence others and use it to be a positive force to accomplish common goals as a team.

If you lead yourself well and develop your ability to influence others, you will be on the path to being a leader regardless of your level, line worker to CEO. People may listen to authority – leaders of position however, they follow leaders who are a positive influence – leaders of voice.

Be a leader of voice – a person who influences, motivates, and inspires others.

Let’s fast forward to Bobby’s conversation with his boss in six months, it may go something like this. Over the past six months we agreed what my leadership development should look like and here are the results. My definition of leadership is this: ____________. I received feedback from every team member and worked to specifically contribute to my team in this manner: __________. The results have been ___________ and you have given me additional responsibilities. I am ready to move to the next level and continue my growth.

What can you do to create a conversation like this in your future?

Take 30 seconds to jot down your thoughts on what leaders do:

Now how do they do it.


I had the unique opportunity in the early 2000’s to be part of an all United States Service Academy team to draft and edit a new edition of The Armed Forces Officer. The broad purpose of the book was to get to the essence of what it means to lead as a military officer.  More narrowly how the different cultures of each service apply those broad strokes.

Guess what? Those broad strokes apply to leadership in any forum and the focus on different cultures applies directly to the corporate, educational, and the nonprofit world very well.

What do leaders do?

Leadership is a bond of trust. If trust does not exist between the leader and the led, leadership is not happening. Here are several possibilities of what is actually going on.

  • The leader is being obeyed. They are a leader of position, not of voice. A leader of voice is an individual followed because they are a voice of leadership. Respected for their expertise and approach.
  • The leader is in front of the organization but not building or leading from a place of trust. They are akin to a person jumping in front of a parade thinking they are leading it. The route was set well before they jumped in front.
  • The leader is followed out of shear curiosity. “What will she do next? This should be entertaining!”

Leaders build trust!

As you know trust does not develop overnight. It takes time and consistency. How do they do it? By executing four very clear steps.

  • Leaders set the example
  • Leaders set and enforce the standard
  • Leaders build and sustain morale
  • Leaders exhibit moral and physical courage

A few thoughts on each element.

Set the example

Leaders who are exemplars of the expectations of subordinates build credibility. Being an exemplar does not entail doing the job of subordinates. It entails demonstrating the expectations such as; being on time for meetings, professionalism, attention to detail, treating everyone with respect, admitting mistakes, being transparent, and living by the vision, mission, and values of the organization. Credible leaders set an airtight example for others to follow.

Set and enforce the standards

Setting the standard is easy, the enforcement proves difficult for many or at least uncomfortable. Why is this so difficult? The feedback from inexperienced leaders is the accountability discussion feels like you are being mean or I don’t want to be confrontational. There is nothing mean or confrontational about it. You communicated your expectations, set performance metrics, and standards of professional behavior. You are doing your job, they are not.

The reaction from experienced leaders is that not holding individuals to the standards, only lowers the standards. Worse yet is being inconsistent with accountability. Holding one group/individual to a standard and not another erodes your credibility. Your audio must match the video, if you state you will ensure individuals meet the standard then do it and be consistent.  Otherwise you will be sowing seeds for low performance, low respect, discontent, and a cynical culture.

Set and enforce the standard and you will likely have the performance and respect you expect. Of course, how you enforce the standard has an impact. Accountability can be calm and professional.

Build and Sustain Morale

If you are the leader you own everything under your umbrella; cost, schedule, and performance. Part of performance is morale. Think of the best boss you ever worked for. What did that leader do for you and those around you? Working in an engaging environment that gets the best out of everyone is infectious and attracts talent. This does not have to be ping pong tables and happy hours. What are you doing to first, understand the current state of morale in your organization is and second, to positively build it and sustain it?

Exhibit Moral and Physical Courage

The physical courage clearly comes from the military aspects of my source however, in some lines of work it fits. Law enforcement and first responders come to mind immediately. If you lead individuals who you send into harm’s way, you better be able to do what you ask of them. You know it if it applies.

Moral courage fits every leader. But what is it? Let’s call it the ability to stand up to moral wrongs and make the hard decisions. It often feels like sticking up for the little guy, an injustice, or speaking truth to power. Some examples: calling out unethical behavior particularly the behavior of seniors, going to bat for an individual who is being treated poorly, putting a career/promotion at risk by speaking the truth, or backing an unpopular position because you believe it is right.

Put in your mind’s eye two pictures. The first, the finest example of consist morale courage in the workplace you have witnessed. How do you feel about that individual?

The second picture, the most egregious example of a moral coward. The individual who always acquiesced to the bosses’ position, rarely took a stand on issues important to the organization, and would allow other individuals to task your organization without any intervention or involvement.

Put those pictures next to each other and assess how you feel about them. Nothing more needs to be said.

Leadership is a bond of trust – without trust there is no leadership

How do you build that trust?

  • You set the example
  • You set and enforce the standard
  • You build and sustain morale
  • You exhibit physical and morale courage

On a scale of one to ten assess how you are doing in each area. Set an improvement goal and take an action to make progress. You will be rewarded with the trust and confidence of those you work with.

Did you enjoy working through this leadership tool?  Check out another leadership blog post here.

Jeremy 42 is a managing partner in a professional services firm and has been with them for 10 years. He is a steady performer doing well financially (200k+) depending on the year and settled into a niche part of the business as an expert. He is well respected by everyone in the firm and a key part of the management team. With two children, ages 9 and 7 he wants to be able to spend more time around them particularly at their sporting and school events. One goal he has is to coach soccer for his kids as he played in college. His commute is making that impossible since he spends a minimum of 2 hours a day commuting which often turns into 3 hours.

The work is not all that exciting since he has become the firm’s “expert” in a particular area. There are plenty of challenges such as meeting deadlines, creating deliverables, modifying contracts, and developing junior associates. For him work has become fairly routine. He could branch into other areas if he wanted, however, has not taken the time and effort to build an additional book of business. He has become very comfortable with his current situation.

He came to me looking for assistance in determining where to start with his search and how to go about it. Some requirements were that he had to keep his salary at the current level, reduce time on the road, have significant vacation time, and be in a position of leadership.

We started with sharpening the elements of his vision for the perfect position. He determined his desire to move was based more on family lifestyle than work. Spending time with the family became the primary driver rather than professional responsibilities. That did present some challenges as leadership roles are what commanded the salary, he was familiar with and looking for.

Examining his skill set he was very clear that business development and networking were not his strong suit. It was also clear that his expertise forced clients and colleagues to see him as one dimensional. Most of his current book of business was referred to him from previous clients or colleagues in the firm. He was capable of a broad range in his field however, his recent experience did not reflect that capability. He also wanted to keep his search confidential.


The first actions were to determine how to search what the potential market was for him. We started by having Jeremy identify potential firms and individuals that might be able to assist him in answering that question. That meant working on his networking skills. We worked on what networking was for him. He came up with a definition that translated into small meetings, presentations, coffees or lunches with colleagues. He explored other firms made connections and even applied and interviewed for several positions.

The Results

What Jeremy discovered was that changing firms would cost him significantly in salary. He was not going to be brought in as a managing partner. He would have to start as an associate and build up to partner. That was disappointing.

He also found that he was actually pretty good at networking, using his style. Renewing previous relationships, creating new ones, and building on his reputation as an expert proved beneficial. One result was that it brought some new business in his area of expertise.

He also examined going into business for himself, which after doing the research he determined would take up more time than his current situation. Nope going to hang out his own shingle.

Looking at where he was gaining traction, he made the decision to go to the management team and make a proposal. He proposed that he work from home at least two days a week with the potential for more if he cultivated clients in his geographic area. The management team accepted his proposal with a plan to implement it in increments to ensure it did not have a negative impact on business and development of junior associates.


Jeremy is working from home approximately two and a half days a week. He has improved his book of business and gained a couple of clients in the area where he lives. He has adopted a business development approach based on his networking strategy. As an assistant soccer coach, he participates with his children’s teams several times a week.

Jeremy is much happier in his current arrangement. He is still focused on his vision of being a well-paid executive with time to live the lifestyle he wanted. He did not change firms however; he did transition his career to be focused on what is most important to him. Jeremy is controlling his career.

Put yourself in the setting with the best leader you ever worked with – what was it like?

What was the impact on your life, your family, your friends?

Now put yourself in the setting with the worst leader you ever worked with – what was that like?

What was the impact on your life, your family, your friends?

How far reaching were the impacts of the leadership you experienced? The impacts were extensive, weren’t they?

Did you ever come home from a day of interaction with those individuals and talk about them?

What were your emotions? Happiness, motivated, anxiety, dread?

Who do you want to work for? Dumb question isn’t it?

Now put yourself in the shoes of those who work for and with you. What is it like?

What is the impact you are having on their lives? When they go home what are they saying about your leadership and how do they feel?

You have an impact on the lives of those around you and the people close to them. Your leadership differentiates you and the quality of the lives of your associates, especially your direct reports.

So how are you doing and what is your leadership trajectory?

I bet in you have an image of the type of leader you are and a vision of the path you are on. Is it accurate? How can you prove its accuracy?

You need feedback. Honest unvarnished feedback from all sides; those above, adjacent, and below you. Then what? Use it! Use the feedback to establish and validate your starting point relative to your vision. Isn’t this what you do every day your direct reports?

What do leaders do? First, leaders set the vision for their organization and people. Then they continually monitor progress by assessing, measuring, providing feedback, and making changes to achieve their vision. They do the same to develop their people.

Why then do leaders fail to do the same for their growth? A couple of prominent reasons I have found are, 1) because leaders feel they can evaluate themselves accurately and 2) they are reticent to hear the feedback, specifically from a 360-degree evaluation.

Reality, we all need feedback and assistance to attain our vision. Particularly if you are a leader dealing out a lot of feedback. The truth, everyone already knows the answers – except you. Your mannerisms, quirks, and frequent sayings are all part of daily conversations with those around you. You have blind spots negatively impacting your ability to lead and those around you want to reveal them. They want you to be a better leader.

How do you feel about the individual who takes feedback well, asks for assistance, and is continually working to improve themselves? It usually differentiates that person. Is that an image you project?

Leadership is the great differentiator and your leadership is differentiating you. Do you know how?

In the business world you hear constant talk of differentiating yourself and your business. How to differentiate yourself is not hard. If you are a leader you outperform your peers. If your company has a culture of leadership you will out perform your competition.

What is hard is being a leader and creating a leadership culture. What does it take? It takes starting with a solid foundation:

  1. Establishing your vision
  2. A ruthless assessment of where you are today
  3. The soul searching process of validating your values
  4. Taking consistent disciplined actions to live by and run your organization aligned with your values

Easier said than done. Do you know of any individuals or organizations that articulate and consistently live by their values? If you do, I will venture that they are high performing trusted individuals and organizations and seen as leaders.

What actions are you taking to develop yourself as a leader and develop a leadership culture for your organization? If your actions are not based on the foundation of values what is the foundation? Set a solid foundation for your actions otherwise you are destined to be in the middle of pack – just ordinary.

Leadership differentiates you and your organization from the ordinary.