Today’s guest post reveals integrity of perception. What we think of ourselves may not be what others think….
I received an e-mail from the golf pro at a course where my husband and I play. It begins with the following… “I’m Fast, You’re Slow.”
What does pace of play in golf have to do with Integrity? Integrity is about congruence between intent and action. Or, as defined via the Alliance’s Ethical Omaha Legacy Project, “walking your talk.”
Often, leaders understand their leadership effectiveness from their own perspective, taking into consideration how they intend to lead. Less frequently do they actively seek authentic feedback from those who experience their leadership every day.
Here’s why it’s important: In the Nov 2012 issue of Inc., Maeghan Ouimet reports “three out of every four employees report that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job.”
Ouimet states, “Often it’s not what bosses do that makes them bad, it’s what they don’t do.” She cites a study of 30,000 managers, where employees report these top five manager flaws again and again:
- Fails to inspire
- Accepts mediocrity
- Lacks clear vision and direction
- Unable to collaborate and be a team player
- Fails to walk the talk
My hunch is three of four managers wouldn’t report the same of themselves.
360˚Feedback is a powerful tool that helps leaders gather data to describe how their leadership is experienced by others. I often refer to it as a “reality check.” Below is an example of a leader whose self-perception around communicating a vision for the future is out of sync with how the leader is perceived by key stakeholders:
Like the golfers’ speed of play in the survey, this executive’s self-perception is considerably higher than the peers and direct reports who actually experience his leadership.
We’ve found its key for every leader to understand how their self-perception aligns with reality. But knowledge alone rarely results in change. (Step on a scale lately?)
Effective leaders take action to bridge the gap. They increase integrity by supporting feedback with action planning and accountability for change. In the illustration, the executive capitalized on this feedback and helped lead a divisional visioning process that resulted in measurable revenue increase.
To be a player others want on their team, awareness of your actions is essential. As leaders, we have the opportunity to take a proactive approach to increase our effectiveness by engaging feedback from a robust group of key stakeholders.
Golf Digest’s survey is a driving example of how our perception of reality often varies from the reality experienced by others. Organizations have “the power to meaningfully evaluate the CEO – whether doing it themselves, or bringing in someone to do it, or some combination thereof” (Stanford 2013). 360˚Feedback is worthwhile for all leaders.
When I golf tomorrow afternoon, speeding up my game could be as simple as using a watch to measure reality, and then track my progress or even enlist a coach for accountability. Tomorrow, what will you do to bridge the gap?
Janyne Peek Emsick, Ph.D., Intégrow
integrowinc.com > inspiring organizations around the world to walk their talk, one leader at a time.
Greater Omaha has five business core values: Accountability, Community Responsibility, Financial Vitality, Integrity, and Moral Courage. These values were identified as being significant drivers of the business success Greater Omaha enjoys. Organizations wanted a way to enhance their ethics cultures so we have created curriculum around these values and offer FREE do-it-yourself presentation packages under the umbrella name Ethical Omaha. www.businessethicsalliance.org/ethical-omaha/