An Outside View

An Outside View

Different people see the world differently. Andy Warhol saw a Campbell’s soup tin very differently than I do. Some of the biggest differences are peoples’ views of religion or politicians. Some think that Mick Jagger is still going strong as a rock & roll frontman. Others feel his voice is past its prime and he should hang up his mic. Now this is all sounding a bit distant and theoretical, what does this have to do with leadership or personal growth?

Well, everyone has different perceptions. What are other peoples’ perceptions of you? I’ve recently been working with a group for 3 days on their 360 feedback. Yes, 3 days on just their feedback from their boss, peers and direct reports. These weren’t problem managers, they are senior leaders at high levels and on track for higher levels in the organization.

I was recently asked in an interview how I would describe myself as well as my strengths and weaknesses. Easy question for me to answer given the decades of performance reviews I’ve had done and given the development career I am in. The questions that were a bit more unusual were “how would your friends describe you? how would your co-workers, boss describe you?”

How do other people see you? Their view of you tells you the impact that your personality, attitudes and behaviours have. You could do a 360 to get their views. You could send an email stating ‘what should I stop/start/continue?” Or you could just ask “how would you describe me? what works? what doesn’t?”

The evening after my interview I had dinner with a friend and asked her opinion of how she would describe me. My answer at the interview had been fairly accurate especially on “my good points” and a bit surprisingly I learned something new about something I didn’t like so much. I was curious for data – what did she mean, how did that show itself – as I didn’t think I left that impression. Maybe there was a little bit of feeling defensive – I’m not like that, even though when I put ego aside some of it did ring true. I thanked her for your input on the good and the “opportunity” and felt it was something I wanted to be more aware of and to be open to noticing. I haven’t decided yet if or how I’ll work on it, I just want to be conscious of the impression I have on others in that area.

What are other peoples’ views of you? How could increasing your awareness of the impression you make or the impact you have make you more effective as a leader, partner or person?

Live Your Potential!