Many managers I talk with feel they are pretty good leaders. That is, until they receive the results of a staff and peer review. Some are shocked that their scores are so low. Others just can’t take in the data – they actually reject the feedback.
If you do not possess the skill of empathy – of being able to imagine what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes – it makes sense that you would not take their feedback seriously either. Which puts you in quite a conundrum: Until you can begin to accept and believe the feedback, you won’t likely change your leadership style… which means continued turnover, strife among your staff, uncomfortable reviews, less-than-ideal results, burnout, heartburn & indigestion.
Regard is a Two-Way Street
The first step in becoming a better leader is to really really really listen to what people are saying about you. “Regard” is a key component of leadership. As in, how do your people regard you? What do you imagine they are saying about you around the dinner table with their families? What would you like them to say?
And shifting the regard of your staff begins with YOU shifting your regard toward them. Beginning with listening.
Rick Telberg, who writes CPA Trendlines, published a terrific blog post on this a few months ago. He referenced a Regent University leadership study that identified three categories of leader:
- Transformational, which focuses on rallying followers around a shared vision and motivating them to elevate the organization’s interests above their own,
- Transactional, which rewards or disciplines followers based on their performance, and
- Servant, which is based on a desire to serve and encourages “collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and the ethical use of power.”
Rick’s post highlights key findings in the study:
- Most leaders see themselves as either transformational or servant leaders.
- Most employees see their supervisors as transactional leaders.
- Most employees say they respond best to transformational leadership style.
The dots are not connecting! Take a good look at your own leadership style and give yourself an honest assessment. If I were to shadow you for a week, which category would I see you operating from?
Be honest. It’s your only chance. Stretch your mind and heart into seeing yourself how your staff sees you.
Please be sure to read Rick Telberg’s blog post, “What Kind of Leader Do You Think You Are? “