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Leadership Realities Part 3

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My journey to save leaders from themselves and eventually from their organizations...

Last month in the continuing saga of Phil Rigorous, I explained the challenges you can face when someone simply gives you the words that sound like they hear but truly don’t. If you didn’t catch it, you can click on the link and you can look at the second installment http://www.prioritylearningresearch.com/articles/LeadershipRealitiesPart2

So, Phil was considering taking a 360 Leadership Assessment in the last segment and in fact he did. As I explained the process to him, we choose five categories that impact effectiveness as a leader. We electronically sent the statements to assess him on to three demographic audiences, who were asked to score the leadership statements and give feedback or anonymous comments regarding his behavior as a leader. All of the results came directly to us electronically. I went on to explain to Phil that the assessment was anonymous, and to encourage his observers to be honest in their evaluation of him. We analyzed the results for objective evaluation and recommendations. Once he received the information and we went over the results, I encouraged him to report back to his observers what he learned, planned to do with what he learned, and follow-up for more feedback if his audience was willing. (Just to give a little background on our 360 Leadership Assessment process.)

For all of you curious people, this is the way our online 360 Leadership Assessment works and here is the quick rundown. A person is rated by peers, superiors and subordinates on 25 positive statements focused on 5 categories (5 statements each) important to the leader’s success. Each statement is rated on a 5-point scale (5 excellent and 1 low). The results are broken down by category and demographics, so the leader who is being assessed knows where the information is coming from, but not who is giving him the feedback. There is also a place to record comments if respondents care to make them. We use the numbers and comments collectively to make our conclusions and recommendations.

Here is a sample:

The top left row and column represents the people who evaluates the person. The person being evaluated does a self-evaluation (in the white row) and the S1 through S5 in the top row represents various statements that the audience is evaluating on.

Demographic Group

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

Leader’s Name

5

3

4

4

4

Management Team

4

3

3

3

4

Management Team

4

2

4

4

3

Management Team

4

3

3

3

4

Management Team

4

3

4

4

3

Management Team

3

2

2

3

2

Peer

4

3

3

2

4

Peer

4

5

5

4

4

Peer

5

4

5

5

4

Peer

3

2

3

3

3

Peer

4

3

5

5

4

Peer

4

3

2

2

5

Team Member

5

4

5

5

5

Team Member

4

4

5

5

4

Team Member

3

2

5

5

4

Team Member

4

4

4

5

5

Team Member

3

3

3

3

3

Some sample statements are:

Integrity Defined…Assesses your Integrity, such as being honest and trustworthy, exhibiting interest in the future of the organization to make sure everything is being done to improve relationships with external and internal customers/clients, and being community-minded.

Integrity Statements:

  • I am honest and trustworthy with those around me and in all that I do for the organization.
  • I place a high value on the needs of the community that I work in.
  • I consistently visualize and do what is best for my company based on its core beliefs.
  • My behavior is consistently in alignment with the values of my organization.
  • I insist on always doing what is right for my organization, its employees, community and its purpose.

Leadership Defined: Assesses your Leadership skills, such as patiently providing new perspectives for the organization, knowing the organizational challenges and striving for improvements, and providing process and visioning to help others follow the successes of the organization.

Leadership Statements:

  • I provide new perspectives and encourage others to do the same.
  • I am consistently challenging existing paradigms to improve the process.
  • I have provided a clear and compelling vision that others want to follow.
  • I lead by example and inspire others to follow my lead.
  • I exercise patience with peers, superiors, and staff.

(All observer statements above start with He/She.)

Phil’s categories were Integrity, Leadership, Approachability, Staff Development and Credibility.

Ok, that is the end of the 360 lesson, but if you want more, simply give us a call and we will fill in details with you or anyone on your staff.

Back to Phil’s story...

Are you wondering just how bad the news was for Phil?

It was bad. No, it was really bad. If you are into statistics like I can be, of a possible high score of 25 in each category and possible low of 5, Phil averaged 7.2 across all five categories. Think about that. That is 2.2 above the lowest score you could receive. Average scores range in the mid-teens for the general leadership audience with the best of the best usually topping out at 22 or 23 in each of the categories.

Phil was crushed and we quickly moved from trying to convince Phil that he had a problem to saving Phil from being crushed under the weight of news he never expected to hear. That may sound like a good ending to the story, but it was just the beginning because Phil was in full-on panic. You may be asking yourself, “Didn’t he know he was messing up?” He didn’t, and had somehow thrown up a wall of delusion around himself. It happens more than you may know.

With Phil’s emotions that high, we couldn’t accomplish much and were reluctant to let Phil leave until he felt a little better. We invited Phil’s direct superior to join us after the feedback he received from me. The meeting started slowly, but Phil’s boss was just what you may in a leader: patience, courteousness, a good listener and sensitive to the discussion that would live on in the thoughts of Phil for days and weeks to come.

Excuses disappear

A week after the 360, Phil was back in my office with a different agenda. He wanted to figure out how to dig himself out of the hole he dug for himself. I explained that there were truly three options and he should consider seriously on which one would be best. First, he could simply polish up his resume and find a new start. He could go back and try to slowly build back his lost credibility or, of course, he could simply blame the audience for not understanding his job.

Phil was ready for me and decided that he was going to embrace the feedback, show his resilience, learn a new way to lead and prove to everyone that he could get up from a serious career blow, dust himself off and be a better man. Slowly, but steadily over the last 6 months, he has done just that and recalls frequently to remind himself and others the power of living through a hard event. Sometimes I wonder if I could have done what he had done and continues to do.

It doesn’t always turn out as well, but I wanted to start off with a true story of hope and resilience. People surprise me with their rebound power and just how big a hit we are capable of taking. Good Lord, we are tough. Tougher than we know and if we want to learn from Phil maybe...

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”  Randy Pausch, from The Last Lecture

Thanks for reading and in May and I will share another of my adventures in Leadership Realities.

Warmest regards,

5 (2)


ralph

Ralph Twombly
Priority Learning
Owner/Facilitator


In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.

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