Performance Pointer
From the Penumbra Group; your best resource for training and development solutions.
January 2007 - Tip #22
In This Issue:

Taking Stock: Leadership Credibility
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The best way to end a year and begin a new one is to take stock of all that once was and ponder all that is to come. From a performance standpoint, that means examining our strengths and shortcomings. What are your leadership goals and challenges? Where should you focus your development energies in the year to come? Where are your "blind spots"? This month's Performance Pointer will help you take a good hard look in the performance mirror and take steps toward becoming the kind of leader people a good way.

Finding the answers to these weighty questions must begin with self- examination but then be tested by seeking outside perspective - discovering who we are in the eyes of others. Let your employees hold up the mirror and you may be surprised by what you see. Blind spots are our stumbling blocks, our bad habits that hold us back from being the kind of leader we aspire to be. Resolve to take a risk this year and learn how to lead from the ones who matter most – those following you.

There are many ways to help your employees open up and share their insight, some more formal like employee surveys, and some informal like an end-of-year leadership performance review. Yes, you read right, it's time to give your employee's a turn to review your performance and provide written and verbal feedback on your key leadership competencies.

Consider the following behaviors that crush leadership credibility and employee motivation (trends uncovered through employee focus groups and surveys across industries and levels):

Lack of direct feedback Telling others around the person or saying nothing at all. Common employee complaint: “You can tell they are unhappy with me but won’t talk to me directly about it”

Solitary decision making Making decisions that impact others without soliciting their feedback. Common employee complaint: “This directly affected my job but yet they didn’t think it was important to ask me what I think”

Talking out of both sides of your mouth Being hypocritical, contradictory or overly political. Common employee complaint: “Mixed messages”

Forgetfulness Forgetting conversations and instructions given. Poor listening skills. Common employee complaint: “I have to take notes just to be sure I can prove later we had this conversation”

Unpredictable/ Reactive Crisis mentality, often adopting the reactions of others. Common employee complaint: “We’re headed one direction today, we’ll be headed the opposite direction tomorrow”

Fairweather boss A fan one minute, a critic the next. Common employee complaint: “You have their support until it becomes unpopular”

Unrealistic or assumed expectations Expecting others to possess the same work ethic or assuming unspoken expectations will be met. Common employee complaint: “I failed at something I didn’t even know I was being evaluated on and never got the chance to discuss it”

Not understanding their employee’s jobs Assuming credibility can be earned without understanding the innerworkings of the team. Common employee complaint: “If they had any idea what we do they would make better decisions instead of making our jobs harder”

Breaking promises/ poor follow through Unreliability in all its ugly incarnations. Common employee complaint: “They hold us accountable but when it comes to them there always are exceptions and excuses. ”

Leadership behaviors that build credibility and employee motivation:

Getting your hands dirty; working WITH them
 Assuming the best and delaying judgment
 Reliability in word and deed
 Soliciting their input in brainstorming and problem solving
 Challenging them to think outside their job description
 Taking a genuine interest in employees as individuals
 Delegating learning opportunities not just problems
 Laughing at yourself and fessing up when you blow it
 Encouraging creativity
 Giving others the freedom to “fail forward”
 Operating from a hope of success rather than a fear of failure
 Asking “how am I doing?”

You can make great strides in the coming year toward becoming the kind of leader you most admire. The first step is moving out of your comfort zone and asking for feedback on how others see you modeling these behaviors. Learning about how others perceive you will reveal ways you can be more effective and is surprisingly liberating.

To learn more about how Penumbra Group can assist you in achieving your leadership and employee development goals, please visit our website at

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and successful new year!

DON'T MISS Penumbra's Emotional Intelligence video, "Investigating EQ"

Sincerely, Jennifer and the Penumbra Team

Penumbra Group Inc.

phone: Toll Free 877-388-6764
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