“We judge ourselves by our intentions; we judge others by their actions.”

I have never coached anyone who intends to be an ineffective leader. I often start coaching engagements using a 360 assessment called The Leadership Circle Profile. This insightful tool measures a leader’s view of him/herself across a spectrum of 18 leadership competencies and 11 reactive tendencies. It also records the views of 10-15 of his/her colleagues. As we dive into the results together, a number of insights often arise:

  1. Different people experience our leadership in a myriad of ways. Some may say we’re very empowering; some may say we micromanage.
  2. It is never someone’s intention to be an ineffective leader. So we either argue that the feedback is wrong or that the rater doesn’t understand. And that reaction is partially true.
  3. What feedback our colleagues give us is often a reflection of who they are as much as it is of who we are.
  4. Our reactive tendencies are usually an overuse of a strength. Perhaps we overuse being likeable and accommodating to the point we can’t make difficult decisions that need to be made.
  5. Perhaps we have become successful because we stay in control of all moving parts of a project. Unfortunately, our teams think we don’t empower or trust them.
  6. Or perhaps we’ve stayed safe by remaining somewhat aloof and are the first to find fault with an idea. People experience us as distant and inauthentic.

When leaders realize no one is “blaming” them, they can relax into the feedback, begin to become aware of their reactive tendencies and become self-aware enough to intentionally choose the most appropriate response to any situation.

The process of becoming a better leader is really the same process as becoming a better person. As I’ve said many times before, “leadership is not a coat of skills we put on; it’s a way of being we develop.” Here’s to Leadership from the Inside Out.

For articles of interest covering a variety of leadership topics, please sign up here for my monthly newsletter. To start a discussion about how our work using the Leadership Circle can help you grow in self-awareness and achieve leadership excellence, contact me.