According to an article published on www.hbr.com, “Once people reach the C-suite, technical and functional expertise matters less than leadership skills and a strong grasp of business fundamentals.” (Harvard Business Review 2017)
So what’s the best route to get the leadership skills necessary for the top posts? Go get more training? Head online or back to the university for an MBA? Not bad options if you do have the time and budget, yet the notion that these kinds of tools will be the answer about ‘how to be a CEO’ isn’t complete. “Despite an industry of business schools, management books and seminars, nobody can teach you how to be an effective boss, leader or entrepreneur. They’re all self-taught,” writes Andy Kessler for www.wsj.com. I couldn’t agree more. For anyone to be successful, it always starts and ends with them.
Self-Awareness and Effective Leadership Roles
Strong self-awareness is one of a leader’s best tools. Self Leadership is foundational to the process because without knowing both our best strengths and recognizing our lesser virtues (and how to mitigate their negative impacts) we’ll always run the risk of being misaligned in parts of our role. We can end up saying yes to roles just because we believe we should or because that seems like the next step. That can be a mistake, but how do you attempt to realign and solve it? One way to effectively help position leaders in the right role and help them gain clarity around issues that might be holding them back is to conduct a 360-degree assessment. Assessments are an unbiased analysis of a particular personality, trait, or strength and often provide deeply honest ‘knee jerk’ reactions and information about a candidate or employee. A 360-degree assessment is one where key people in an employee’s professional sphere anonymously answer the same questions about the individual. Questions are designed to uncover specific issues or intents and can provide a baseline competency in certain areas or uncover behavior issues that can be corrected. When you and the person receiving the assessment results see patterns arise in the responses, it is a great way place to begin a coaching or other professional growth program.
While I use 360-assessments frequently and custom designs them for clients, you can do so, as well – as long as you understand the purpose. Here are some possibilities:
- Help coach someone to improve their self-awareness
- Uncover areas where natural skill could be developed to get them in the right role
- Help build team unity and improve understanding about different work styles or personality types
Next time you’re looking to uplevel your own career or support a direct-report, consider building a 360-assessment for a good starting point.
ACT Like a Pro Out There!