“The biggest lesson I’ve learned in 20 years of consulting is that leaders need to know what others are saying about them, or risk losing their job.”
I couldn’t agree more. Where I do disagree, though, is on the methodology. How many people do you know who will really tell you the unvarnished, un-sugar-coated truth when you ask them?
Your boss? Maybe. Certainly, he may be the most-likely truth-teller. If you’re job is on the line – and you don’t know it – honest feedback at this point depends on the plan … keep you or replace you.
Your peers? Maybe with humor or sarcasm covering over the truth, but it is just very difficult to look someone you work with in the eye and answer very truthfully.
Your employees? At the risk of loosing their jobs or creating an uncomfortable working relationship? My guess is no.
Your spouse? She might be objective, but she also loves you. It’s not always easy to risk telling someone you love the truth knowing you might also wound them.
Your friends? They are probably not objective, nor might they care about what others are saying about you because you’re a fun guy.
Information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. If you don’t know the negatives, how can you change or improve? But an objective tool that solicits honest, confidential answers will undoubtedly get you much more valuable information. A reputation audit is indeed powerful … you just need to use the right tool.