by Michael Holland    

Effective leaders seek to continuously improve how they impact the organization and those with whom they interact.  Gaining objective insight on your behaviors and how those behaviors impact others can provide you with critical data to adjust your actions and behaviors.  So, where do you really stand?  Are you an impactful leader?  Is that a positive impact or a negative impact?  When was the last meaningful conversation you had with your boss regarding how you are performing as a leader?

Seek the feedback.   A profound method for analyzing how well you are doing is to seek feedback from individuals within various stakeholder groups that surround you.  As a leader, you have your direct reports who have a perception of you.  And there’s the boss who has her own perception as well.  But there are several other groups who can provide valuable insight.

  • Peers – locally and globally
  • Customers – external as well as internal
  • Matrix team members – up, across and down
  • Members of the Board of Directors, Mentors, External Advisors

Formal feedback can be garnered via a 360 degree feedback survey – think of yourself as at the center of the circle and your stakeholders surround you laterally, above and below – which provides tremendous, objective and usually anonymous feedback.  Well-run 360 degree surveys provide the input along leadership competencies which allow you to internalize the perceptions from various  stakeholders.  Short on your budget?  Here are some less formal methods you could follow to gain input.

Create your own electronic survey and deploy to your stakeholders via

  • Free survey tool: www.Surveymonkey.com
  • Outlook Exchange Voting/Tracking Survey
  • Create a simple questionnaire and email to your stakeholders
  • Facilitate in-person meetings with stakeholders

To be successful, you should:

  • Seek the feedback
  • Create an action plan
  • Find an accountability partner; your boss is a good place to start

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Take 4 minutes to determine your stakeholders.  Using a blank piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle of the page the size of a half-dollar.  Place your name in the circle.  Now, draw spokes off of that circle and write the names of stakeholders.  Start with broad groupings if needed such as direct reports, bosses, peers.  Then narrow those groupings with individual names or subsets.
  • By taking inventory of your stakeholders, you will at least begin to think through how they might perceive your leadership impact on the organization.

Click here to see a sample 363 for Leaders tool which we use with our clients.