When I got rejected from the first two leadership positions I applied for, I couldn’t understand why.
I had been successful at everything I’d done throughout my career. Not always at first, but I had always been willing to work hard, improve where I needed to, and put up the results.
So I couldn’t understand why I was getting passed up for a promotion.
I’d always been successful and had a great track record. Why wasn’t that enough?
What I learned was, the leaders of my company really liked me…
As a sales person.
That’s what they viewed me as.
They didn’t view me as a leader, and that was the hurdle I needed to overcome.
I needed to change the way they perceived me.
Throughout my journey into leadership, here are the three questions I started with:
How do my peers, those above me, and those below me all currently assess my strengths and weaknesses?
How does that differ from how I want them to view me?
What specific actions do I need to take immediately to change how people look at me?
Answering those questions, and asking others who would give me honest feedback, showed me a few key areas I needed to improve in:
- I was the party guy, which was fine as a salesperson. However, they realized teams are a replica of their leader, and they didn’t need a team of 10-12 more people like me drinking until 2 am at company events.
- I was interesting for most to talk to, but I needed to learn how to be more interested in others. If I focused more on getting to know other people, what motivated them, what they wanted, and how I could support those efforts, that would gain me needed trust and respect.
Once I realized I had a self-awareness gap and started improving in those areas, everything started changing for me.
If you find yourself in the same spot I was in 2008, I recommend starting with those three questions.
I assure you, they won’t steer you wrong.
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