True leadership calls for constant self-evaluation. But, I’d be willing to bet that a majority of leaders don’t self-evaluate. At least, they don’t do it often enough. Sure, they do it at the end of every quarter or every year when it’s time to turn in reports on company or organizational health. But, they don’t do it often enough.
Now, before you go off and agree while pointing fingers at leaders, the truth is that MOST of us don’t self-evaluate often enough. We’re trucking along and life is just carrying us as it goes.
I had one leader tell me that he never asked himself any questions because he was scared of what the answers might be. He was also scared of NOT having answers. So, he viewed his ability to “politic” his way out of questions as a leadership plus. For him, “sidestepping” was a dance move that needed to be practiced daily. He was willing to dip, dodge and do the Cupid Shuffle, but he was not willing to look in the mirror.
Here’s something crazy about the mirror. The view that you have when looking in the mirror, what you see when you look there, is usually what everyone else is seeing. So, when we refuse to look in the mirror, the only person that we are faking out usually is ourselves.
When I used to record voiceovers and go to the studio, at first I would say, “Man, I hate hearing my voice on recordings.”
Until one day, someone said to me, “You know that’s the same voice WE hear, right? And we’re fine with it!”
Hearing ourselves and looking in the mirror (literally and figuratively) is a practice that helps us get attuned to the finer points of ourselves. It helps us to see our expressions. It helps us to see the sleep in the corner of our eyes. It helps us to see little piece of spinach in our teeth that we missed. It helps us to be honest with ourselves. But so many are terrified of this. We put off doing it for as long as we can.
Aaaahhhh! But leadership calls for doing what others won’t. Leadership calls for evaluation. Leadership calls for introspection. Leadership calls for looking at the ugly in the situation and doing something about it. And this can’t happen quarterly. It must happen daily.
Leaders must look in the mirror before they wrap up for the day and ask:
1. What worked well today?
2. What didn’t work well?
3. What’s the biggest challenge that I need to be aware of for tomorrow?
4. Did I ask the right questions today?
5. Did I LISTEN for the answers?
6. Did I communicate and connect effectively with my team?
Are these the only questions? Of course not! I’m sure someone will point that out. The main principle here is self-evaluation and the frequency with which it must be done. If you aren’t looking at yourself regularly, you can be hip hop sure that the people you lead are looking…regularly…and that shouldn’t scare you one bit.
What questions do you ask yourself daily? I’d love to hear what questions you would add. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.