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See yourself as your people see you

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Tough. Sure-handed. A winner. That’s how you see yourself, right? Well, that’s how a certain chief executive fancied himself in his job at a financial firm.

That is, until last June, when the gentle, highly paid Marshall Goldsmith arrived on the scene and informed the CEO that his employees found him “smart, gifted and dynamic” but also “disrespectful, intimidating and arrogant.”

Now, let’s be honest. Would you pay an executive coach upward of $10,000 a day to tell you exactly what your employees think of you? That’s what 360-degree reviews are for, right? But would you believe a review?

Leaders “are waking up to the new reality that they can’t be SOBs and get away with it,” says Goldsmith.

If you think you can improve yourself, here are Goldsmith’s four golden rules, at a lower rate than the $17,000 per gig he usually charges:
  1. Care about what your colleagues say and feel about you.

  2. Don’t try to prove you’re always right.

  3. Listen and follow up. Ask your mentors for help.

  4. Solicit your people’s opinions of you. Goldsmith polls every three months to measure whether a client’s behavior has changed.

Sometimes, Goldsmith steps in on his clients.

Jonathan Klein, the boss at a photo distributor, was infamous for sarcastically debating his colleagues instead of leading them. In front of 75 employees, Klein once took a question and argued about it instead of answering it.

Goldsmith intervened and says Klein learned how to shut up, listen and think before he talked.

Most of us will have to learn that on our own.

— Adapted from “Quelling Your Inner Jerk,” Robert Lenzer,

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