One of the best gifts an executive leader can get is to receive a snapshot of how she is being perceived in the organization. Today, 360 Feedback Instruments are being utilized in Executive Coaching engagements to measure
how an executive is being perceived in the workplace by bosses, peers and direct reports. A 360 Report can put leaders in touch with what’s working,what is not, and why! This is a powerful tool that can contribute toward
much greater leadership effectiveness.
A recent study of leader effectiveness revealed that the higher the rank of an executive, the less likely the person is to be able to observe the world from another individual’s perspective. The “Relatability” score is inversely related to prominence of position in the organization. Empathy is one of the lesser-developed characteristics of CEOs, according to the study. Is that how they got to the top? Or is that because they have isolated themselves in the corner office? Either way, it’s lonely at the top. And it’s clear that honest communication is needed at the highest levels, now more than ever, to help senior executive leaders see how important it is to connect and relate with people throughout the organization – and beyond.
Being able to relate with others is one of the most critical competencies of effective leaders. The effective executive leader is one who builds and maintains close relationships. They value openness, caring, intimacy, and
give support. The effective leader actively seeks to develop himself and others, and is characterized by having better relationships, better business results, and more personal satisfaction in their work. There’s humility here. You know the type — these are the leaders who inspire us.
Here are a few behaviors that indicate a relatable executive leader. See how many of these you (or your boss) demonstrate consistently:
- Promoting high levels of motivation for teamwork
- Fostering open dialogue with the team
- Building good rapport and high trust
- Respecting another’s opinion, even if you disagree
- Acting as a role model for open communication
- Speaking openly in the presence of “authorities”
- Listening to and learning from subordinates
Then there are the telltale signs of the underperforming executive leader. See if you (or an executive you know) is demonstrating these characteristics:
- Keeping relationships at arm’s length
- Offering more criticism than praise
- Taking over conversations or interrupting others
- Getting angry or defensive when people disagree with you
- Blaming others for your problems – expecting them to do most of the changing
- Withdrawing from conflict
- Making too many decisions yourself or providing too much direction
- Avoiding difficult performance discussions
See the difference in orientation? Who wants to work for the boss who’s showing up as “unrelatable”? A good 360 instrument and leadership coaching debrief session will help an executive uncover and discover how they are showing up. A good coach can guide the executive through development steps to make relating skills a hallmark characteristic of the executive’s leadership qualities. This competency (one of many that contribute to optimal leader effectiveness) will help catapult an executive’s reputation in the organization. It takes a little work. Leader development is worth the investment of time and effort to enhance leadership effectiveness and build a work life and personal life full of more meaning and satisfaction.