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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Do You See In the Mirror?

Trust in managers is in short supply these days. According to Deloitte’s annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, 48% of employed Americans report a loss of trust in their employers and 46% say lack of transparent communication from their companies’ leadership are the primary reasons for pursuing new employment at the end of the recession. Clearly, something is wrong.

Truly great leaders have acute self-awareness. They regularly look in the mirror, questioning, pushing and critiquing their own performance and perceptions.

Sure, 360 degree assessments can help in a formal way to gather feedback about what others think of your leadership style. But with social media, there are also many informal ways to solicit this input. Track sites like to read employees’ candid perceptions of companies and their top leadership. In fact, your own firm may be rated on the site.

If your employees don’t trust you, they won’t follow you. And if they don’t follow you, no one is executing the business strategy. In essence, workers want to be able to follow inspiring leaders who demonstrate values they can relate to, someone who is authentic, has a vision, listens, communicates openly and honestly, supports and recognizes high performance and shows that he or she authentically cares.

Great leadership is neither a profession nor a science, but a practice. As Talent Management reports, individuals cannot lead others until they have mastered their own state of being — who they are, what they believe and how they behave. State of being speaks to the sum total of managers' attitudes, beliefs, actions and values. It spans their vision of the future and presence in the moment.

There has likely never been a time when leaders are under so much scrutiny to behave credibly and ethically. Credible leaders are trustworthy, competent, dynamic, inspiring and accountable. It’s not enough to demonstrate one or two of these attributes. Today, a credible leader needs to hold all of these attributes, while being proficient and competent to execute strategically. It is each leader's responsibility to build an engaged, high-performance workforce.

Do your employees perceive you as trustworthy and credible? Are you ready to take a look in the mirror?

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