One of the most fascinating career experiences for me was also one of the most difficult. It was called a 360 Degree Evaluation. I thought maybe it was called a 360 Degree Evaluation because when the results were read aloud to me about my management performance, that’s how hot it felt in the room! In those days I was in auto body operations management for a large company that rightfully believed that a healthy culture involved giving all employees a voice. The price for this culture was of course that the employees had the opportunity to evaluate their managers, yikes! The benefit was powerful and has profoundly affected my leadership style to this day.
Now in my business as an industry mentor and consultant, I work with very successful people daily. These people are often your typical “type A” business folks that have accomplished a great deal in their lives already. Typically when dealing with these personalities I find that there is a great deal of confidence surrounding themselves, their business operations, and the skills they possess as leaders. The dogged determination, the courage to face difficult situations, and absence of fear in asking for more from life propel these people to a level of success higher than the average person. While these are great qualities that will continue to help them in the future, what these individuals often don’t understand is that they may have become successful despite of some of their inferior qualities. Because they are so confident overall, the not so great qualities get lumped into their overall belief system along with the good qualities as an overall success “formula.” In other words, they see no need for change within themselves because what they have been doing has been working fine. At least up to now.
What is ironic in this scenario is that these same successful leaders are the very ones that are usually complaining about how difficult it is to get their own people to accept change when in reality they are the most stubborn ones! This takes me back to the 360 Degree Evaluation. This method has become my most powerful weapon in my arsenal for getting leaders out of their own way of achieving big-time success. I am reminded of my own utter disbelief years ago in that hot office when I get to share employees’ real feedback with their disbelieving bosses. I don’t mean to make light of this process, because it is not easy for even the most battle-hardened body shop manager, it can rock their world in a big way! Growth can of course be difficult but well worth it for those serious about living up to their true god given potential.
So how can leaders overcome this curse? The short answer is AWARENESS. When a person can come to grips with the fact that their beliefs may be holding them back, there are a couple ways fix it.
- Be curious!
I strongly encourage those that want to be hugely successful to balance their confidence with an equal dose of curiosity. We are no longer living in the Industrial Age and things are changing way too fast to become educationally complacent. How cars are repaired and the methods used to lead people in the modern “Conceptual Age” requires a completely different skillset than most people currently have. It doesn’t have to be a “scary” thing, but future success will require an open mind, and a willingness to learn. I believe curious people will someday rule the planet.
- Be brave!
Those that have thick enough skin to hear the truth about themselves will also benefit greatly. How do people know what to change to? How do they identify areas in their personalities and skillsets that may need some help? There are two main tools I like to use. The first I have already mentioned. The 360 Degree Evaluation is a great way to get to the truth if people in the organization trust the process and have no fear of retribution from superiors. Shops could probably create their own employee survey, but companies tend to get more accurate and relevant feed-back when a 3rd party company provides the service.
- Use science!
The second tool that I use with all my clients is the tti Trimetric Assessment. This is an incredibly insightful tool that can give leaders and their employees a scientific look at personality traits, behaviors, values/motivators, and skills. If leaders are serious about getting to the next level in their careers and moving closer to reaching their potential, this is a great place to start!
For those successful people that are wondering why things may not be progressing as you would like, I invite you to consider the advice in this article. Be aware, be curious, be brave, and use science. As always my associates and I at Elite Body Shop Solutions are always here to help you find the resources you need to win!
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org