“I can’t believe this. My direct reports scored me really high. My supervisors scored me low. This is confusing. I don’t understand.”
I run into various flavors of this two-headed Type A monster all the time when debriefing the results of the Tilt360 Leadership Predictor. Sometimes the direct reports score the person low while the supervisors score the person high. Other times, I see just the opposite.
Either way, it’s not good. The last thing you want is to be perceived as a two headed, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde leader.
So what causes this bizarre difference in perceptions? It usually stems from one of three things.
1. One group is looking at you and your actions through rose colored glasses and scoring you artificially high. Think of this like a favored son, favored daughter or beloved leader. No matter what you do, it’s perceived as good. This dynamic is more likely to occur when you and the person scoring you share a common bond such as the same viewpoint, leadership style or personality type. The danger in this type of situation is that overlooked gaps in your performance can cause train wrecks.
2. One group has much higher expectations for you than you realize. It’s difficult to jump over the bar if you can’t see it. Sadly, some supervisors will intentionally hide their expectations to ‘test’ you. Very bad practice, but not uncommon. The danger here is that poor communication wastes resources, hampers productivity and destroys trust.
3. You are behaving differently with each group. In my experience, this is the most common reason for widely differing perceptions. Sometimes you may be consciously showing up differently, such as when you knowingly play up to your boss to curry favor or when you band together with your direct reports to wage war against upper management. Other times, you are unconsciously showing up differently with each group. For example, maybe you are relaxed and upbeat with your direct reports while feeling on guard, defensive or uptight with your supervisors.
When you suffer from the two headed leader syndrome, it causes confusion, diminishes your credibility and prevents you from being fully effective with everyone you work with.
If this is happening to you, drill down and get to the root cause.
Not sure if this is happening to you? The quickest way to find out is to do a Tilt360 Leadership Predictor. Email me at email@example.com and I’ll tell you all about it.
When it comes to your leadership character, two heads are not better than one.