Have you ever known someone who is blissfully unaware of the things they do that grate on everyone else’s nerves? If this person is a co-worker, that may be annoying. But if this person is your boss, their unconscious quirks can easily become the bane of your work life. What’s worse is that their lack of awareness of these bad habits allows them to continue unchecked, distracting their staff from doing their job effectively.
Before you can make an effective New Year’s resolution, it would be helpful to know what you really need to work on the most. Unfortunately, most people are not self-aware enough to know what they really need to work on. But if you manage other people, you may be less self-aware than you think.
More Power = Less Self-Awareness
Although few people are truly self-aware, those in power are very often less self-aware than others. In fact, a study by emotional intelligence guru Travis Bradberry found that the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the less emotional intelligence you have. But why?
There are a number of psychological and organizational forces that blind leaders to their own fallibility. Here are a few:
- Telling your boss what you really think of them is pretty much career suicide, so nobody does it.
- People in power instinctively discount feedback from subordinates because they are far more concerned with feedback that comes from their superiors and colleagues.
- The higher up the ladder you go, there are simply fewer people in a position to give you feedback.
- Few leaders are secure enough to ask their subordinates for feedback about their own performance.
The Key To Effective Resolutions: Seek Feedback
Whether you manage other people or not, seeking feedback is the best starting point to making resolutions that will help you succeed the most in the New Year. If you are a manager, try seeking feedback from a subordinate; they may have a different viewpoint from your own about what you need to work on. Here’s how to do this:
First, explain that you are developing goals for the New Year and that you want to make sure you are working on the things that matter most. Then explain that you respect their opinion and value their feedback. Ask them if they would be willing to give you candid feedback, and assure them that nothing they say will come back to haunt them. If they agree, ask, “What can I do differently that will help me be more effective?” Don’t ask “Is there anything I can do to be more effective?” Do you see the difference? The latter version is much more likely to receive a response like “Gee, nothing comes to mind”, and you’ll gain no further insight into how you can be more successful.
Another thing leaders can do is take this leadership self-evaluation based on my own research into the most common behaviours that hurt leader’s performance.
The Truth May Hurt, But It’s Key To Self-Improvement
Nobody likes to hear about their weaknesses – especially when they’re hearing it for the first time. Try not to be offended, and thank anyone who is brave enough to give you this valuable information. If you take it in the spirit that it was requested, you’ll be so much better for it!