On a scale of one to ten, score your performance as a leader in your current position.

What was the criteria for your score? How did you come up with that criteria?

I bet you have an image of the leader you are today and a vision of the leader you are on the path to become. The score you gave yourself reflects that image. What are the chances your score would match a score given by subordinates and colleagues?

The truth is, leaders do not accurately evaluate themselves nor do they have an accurate picture of their performance. The picture is actually a jigsaw puzzle which is not fully assembled. The puzzle pieces are also being supplied by various stakeholders. On top of that the pieces they give the leader are carefully selected to influence the picture. How then are leaders able to assemble an accurate picture of their performance?

By being vulnerable, asking for and getting honest feedback on their performance. Leaders need accurate feedback and assistance to attain their vision. However, most leaders are reluctant to ask for it, particularly from a 360-degree evaluation. Why, because of what it might tell them. The reality, everyone already knows the answers – except the leader. Mannerisms, quirks, and frequent sayings are all part of daily conversations with those around the leader. For some leaders’ direct reports are playing “Boss Bingo”. They have a very clear picture of you as their leader.

Everyone has blind spots (missing puzzle pieces) that are negatively impacting their leadership. Consider the impact if those blind spots (puzzle pieces) were revealed.

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? What you don’t know can hurt you.

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