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Recently we came across an article titled, “Why do so many managers forget they’re human beings” and a light bulb immediately illuminated in our heads. As leaders, we wear many hats and interact on many levels daily, but one could argue the single most important measure of our effectiveness to lead a group is that of our reputation. So the question begs, does your reputation match you as a leader?
Now to be overwhelmingly clear we are not talking about the reputation of who you date, or where you like to hang-out on the weekends. We’re talking about the actual reputation you have in the workplace; the real trickle down of your objectives and actions. According to the same article the issue is that, “about 70% of leaders rate themselves as inspiring and motivating – much in the same way as we all rate ourselves as great drivers. But this stands in stark contrast to how employees perceive their leaders.”
When leadership fails at being perceived the way that they intend to act, it can notably harm the entire organization. Let’s put this theory into practice using communication as a reputation topic. Say we have a leader who is joyful and thrilled with their job, attends siloed B and C-level meetings within the organization and believes she excels at her ability to take great notes. Yet when she returns to her department to share important information that pertains to the employees on her team, only bits and pieces are shared. While that may not be a big issue in a one-off scenario, imagine over time the frustration it could cause to a lower-level employee relying on that information to excel at their career.
Besides the obvious, why exactly is an accurate leadership reputation incredibly valuable to those at the top? It is a reflection of your effectiveness at actually leading people. Your ability to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Which is currently a real issue within organizations, as noted in research group McKinsey & Company data that shows during company transformations, 86 percent of senior executives believe that they are actively demonstrating the change they want employees to make, but only 53 percent of employees do.
There is a certain humbleness and mindfulness needed to become aware of one’s leadership reputation. Followed closely behind is a secondary set of commitments, actions, and goals to actually achieve leadership reputation rehab. On an ongoing basis leadership reputation management is something well-worth putting time and effort towards as well. Staying at the top of your game will not only increase your success as a leader, but will likely increase the retention rate of employees and their desire to come to work on a daily basis. Like so many other leadership skills, your leadership reputation is ever evolving and should be approached as so.