You know what I’m talking about, those nasty, evil and mischievous behaviors that can derail you down the wrong path to a world of fire breathing dragons.

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I would devote this Leadership Development article to avoiding gremlins. So how do you as a leader make sure you aren’t derailed? 

Three Simple Steps

1. Ask for Feedback

The easiest thing a leader can do is to ask for feedback from those around her.  The hardest is listening actively, asking clarifying questions, and not getting defensive during the process. It is really hard to hear negative things about yourself. But as soon as you become defensive you make open communications unsafe to the person providing the feedback. 

Another hard thing to do during this process is to ask for feedback from someone who you have had conflict with in the past. And this is where the process of asking for feedback often breaks down. What usually happens is that you will load up on feedback from those who you believe will give you good to great feedback, yet ignore those you believe will give you less than stellar feedback.

2. Use an Assessment 

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Assessments can open your eyes to behaviors that you may potentially derail you during times of stress. A great assessment for leaders to use in this case is the Hogan Assessment, which is specifically designed for leaders and provides the Leadership Challenge Forecast report.  This report will highlight behaviors that could potentially cause you problems and hold back your performance as a leader.  It also offers you suggestions on how you can adapt to become a more effective leader.

Another assessment that can be used is a 360-degree assessment, which provides you with your self-assessment as well as insights from others around you through an anonymous survey. One great assessment is LeaderGrade, which measures three leadership themes: strategy, employee engagement, and business results. Although not as effective as a customized 360, it is more than adequate for the small to mid-sized company who doesn’t have the resources to develop a custom assessment. 

3. Hire a Coach

Executive Coaches are no longer viewed as a last ditch resort by companies but rather an effective development resource for high potentials, emerging leaders, as well as the C Suite. Having a coach is a huge benefit

An executive coach will not only interview your key stakeholders but shadow you to observe you firsthand.  Combining the assessments, interviews, and observations, a development plan is created that meets both your goals as well as the goals of the organization. 

After the plan is created, then coaching starts. The coach’s job is to help you explore options and opportunities for the specific development goals and make adjustments along the way.

So stop worrying about those gremlins chasing you on to a path you don’t want to go. Start now by asking for some feedback.  Who do you plan on asking for feedback from?  And will they be giving you an honest answer? If not then you need to take an assessment!