Many leaders would say, when asked, that they are self-aware. They would also say that they are aware of their impact on their teams. Yet, I have worked with a number of leaders who have been surprised, and disappointed, by their engagement survey results or 360 feedback.
How does this happen? They forget to look in the mirror on an ongoing basis.
As I was working out this morning, the online instructor directed me to look at my lifting posture in the mirror. As I did so, I realized that I was leaning a bit too far forward in my squat. Given this awareness, I was able to straighten my torso into the proper form. Having the correct posture brings better results (more muscle) and less chance of injury. The instructor also reminded me that as I continue lifting, I needed to keep checking the mirror because form can fail as I get tired.
This is this the same for leaders. When we “get tired” and are not continuously monitoring our behavior we miss the bad form that results from this lack of self-monitoring. Multiple times throughout my HR career working inside a large company, I heard colleagues use the phrase “the cobbler’s kids have no shoes” in reference to their HR leader. This is referencing an old fairy tale and is meant to portray the fact that even though HR leaders arguably know the best leadership practice, those practices do not always show up with their teams. Taking that look in the mirror would have helped those leaders truly see what was missing in their leadership of the HR function.
So my challenge to you is to make sure to look into that mirror at the end of every day and ask yourself, “What was my impact on my team today?” I also encourage you to check in with your team and/or a trusted direct report. They can be the best mirror for you. If you want more thorough feedback, consider a narrative 360 process (TBG can help with that! Just send me an email).
Make sure your kids have shoes! The outcome will be greater productivity through an engaged team, which will bring heightened results.