Getting On The Same Page

Same Page

How do you define leadership?  How does your immediate supervisor define it?  How do your direct reports define it?

Why is this important?

If you and the people you lead and the people leading you are not on the same page as to what leadership behaviors and results are expected, the repercussions can be significant.  You and/or your team could face a decline in job satisfaction.  Your job performance may not be meeting expectations.  Morale may go down.

What can you do to get on the same page?

Our company recently adopted the leadership model based on Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Challenge.  After the initial training – getting all the leaders on the same page – we completed a Leadership Practices Inventory.  This allowed the individual and his/her supervisor and direct reports to rate the individual’s performance based on thirty statements covering five primary leadership behaviors:

  • Model The Way
  • Inspire A Shared Vision
  • Challenge The Process
  • Inspire A Shared Vision
  • Encourage The Heart

While the actual rating may have differed somewhat, I was glad to see that I, my supervisor, and my direct reports identified the same areas as my personal strengths.  What we all rated a little lower (and therefore are my opportunities for growth) are also similar.  We are clear on our expectations of each other and I think that is what makes our team a great one.

However, I have also seen examples where there is great difference in how some behaviors were rated.  By following up with a conversation to share the outcomes of the LPI, opening the door for feedback, the divergent parties can begin working toward understanding what the differences were based in.  Was it a difference in expectations?  Was it a difference in leadership expectations? Was it a difference in the meaning of various statements?  Was it not being on the same page?  This is not a single conversation, but an ongoing process of communication and growth.

There are many tools to assess leadership styles and to solicit evaluation and input from others.  If you haven’t done this exercise recently, or with your current team, consider doing so.

Find out if you’re on the same page.  And, if not, you’ll find a path to get there.


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Eleanor Biddulph
Eleanor Biddulph
 is the EVP of Client Services at Progressive Medical, Inc.
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