Do you confuse your hard work and effort for results? Do you struggle to objectively measure your own performance? If you said yes, you are holding yourself back as a leader.
Vic was pretty angry when he left his annual performance review. He couldn’t believe his boss, the company’s CIO, had given him an unsatisfactory performance rating. Didn’t she know how hard he’d been working?
As the director of IT, Vic’s big project for the year was implementing a new cloud-based customer relationship management system. He’d run into problems right from the start. The first vendor he chose wasn’t really up to the task. They gave him bad advice, and by the time he realized it, months had gone by, and the project’s costs had escalated. Now he was under pressure to get the system out, so he skimped on internal education. When the CRM hit the sales force, he got a lot of complaints.
Vic thought he’d given the project everything he could. It had been a hard year. He’d put in countless hours. He was often on call 24/7. And he felt like “hiccups” were common when implementing a new system.
His manager saw things differently. She knew how many hours Vic had put in, but in the end, he just didn’t deliver. So while Vic rated himself as “meeting expectations” for the year, his manager gave him that dreaded “unsatisfactory.”
During the meeting, the CIO explained that, as a leader, Vic shouldn’t confuse effort with results. “It’s one of the first ground rules of leadership,” she said. She also reminded him that as a leader he needed to be able to take an objective view of his own performance - even when it fell short.
I’ve run into leaders like Vic many times. They’re so focused on how hard they’re working that they can’t see the actual results they’ve accomplished. This keeps them from seeing their own performance objectively.
Has this ever happened to you? Do you confuse effort with results? Can you take an objective look at your own performance, even when the results aren’t there?