Leadership Perceptions Gap

In our work with organizations large and small we get to see teams and entire organizations in new and fresh ways. We get to see insights into teams that speak to a lot of different opportunities for leaders to improve either their approach to the team or how the team works together.

One of the biggest challenges we see is the manager’s perceptions about how their team works or how to get the best from their team and what is actually happening in reality.

For example, when leading teams of people conflict is inevitable. But oftentimes how this conflict is managed towards productive outcomes can determine the level of team success.

A recent study indicated that among the workforce only 31% of managers think they are dealing with conflict well. While low, this is higher than employees’ perceptions as only 22% believe managers handle conflict well. This isn’t a huge gap, but for the 10% of people where their manager believes they are handling conflict well but their team does not, this likely feels like a huge gap.

In HBR’s recent article, “Leaders Aren’t Great at Judging How Inclusive They Are”, 122,000 leaders were rated by over 1 million employees in 360 reviews revealing two major findings on inclusivity in conjunction with leadership.

The first is that “Inclusive leaders have opposing views of themselves, with the same being true for  non-inclusive leaders.

Chart titled “How Leaders Rate Their Inclusiveness vs. How Employees See Them

"What is clear in this graph is that leaders who are the worst at valuing diversity are more likely to overrate their effectiveness, and leaders who are the most effective tend to underrate their effectiveness. "

The second finding from this HBR article is that “Diversity and inclusion skills align with leadership skills.”

Graph titled “Diversity and Inclusion Skills Correlate with Leadership Effectiveness:

“Leaders who were rated very poorly on valuing diversity and inclusion were rated in only the 15th percentile for their overall leadership effectiveness, while those who were rated in the top 10% of those two items were rated in the 79th percentile.”

While the article deals with diversity and inclusiveness the reality is that managers’ own ability to self-assess situations or to be self-aware is critical to the success of their leadership efforts.

It is not just about conflict or diversity, but these outages can impact of aspects of team performance and team member engagement. The key is to provide access to tools and information that give the manager the ability to see the hidden aspects not just of their team members but also their blind spots. Areas where their perceptions don’t always align with the realities of the individual team members or how the team works together towards outcomes.

Cloverleaf can be a part of this solution. Our team tools provide managers a view of 5 areas of diversity that include behaviors, thinking styles, communication, cultural or work-style preferences and strengths. This understanding is the first step in being able to appreciate the unique attributes of each team member and ultimately deploy them effectively in the team for improved performance.


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