Oh boy, I’ve got a good one for you. Last month I was asked to take a leadership self-assessment for an internal women’s networking group where I work. This assessment was to be used to create a customized report on what I’m doing well and what I need to work on to become a better leader.
First, I knew something was fishy while completing the assessment and a couple red flag statements came up that pertained to personal hygiene/style (we had to answer Rarely/Sometimes/Almost Always).
“I’ve selected a hairstyle that is appropriate for my age and position.”
“I take care to wear accessories that compliment my clothing.”
“I don’t apply lipstick or comb my hair in public.”
And everyone in the professional world has heard this one…
“I dress for the job I want, not the job I have.”
For the record, the job I want would let me wear pajamas…is that acceptable? Also, is it okay if I just don’t apply lipstick of comb my hair period? If I knew a hairstyle that was appropriate for my age and position, I would wear it. I promise.
Despite my sarcasm, “looking the part” was actually what I scored the best in. I must have fudged some answers, considering today I am wearing an ankle-length corduroy skirt and argyle sweater with tall brown boots. I scored second highest in “how I think.” So apparently I have the appropriate mindset to become a leader, but where I scored the lowest was “playing the game” and “acting” on it – so I’m thinking it probably doesn’t matter so much what I think.
In other words, I’m perfectly happy to ride an elevator to the top where someone else pushed the buttons, but do not ask me to climb a ladder. It is not in my nature.
Some things I might be doing that prevent me from “acting” like a leader, according to this course: polling people before I make a decision (yes), needing to be liked (yes), not asking questions because I’m afraid of looking stupid (yes), avoiding conflict (yes), bringing food to the office (yes), helping too much (yes, damn me).
Some other pitfalls include: acting like a man rather than a professional woman (is this discriminating against cross-dressers?); telling the entire, unabridged truth about everything (is that a partial, abridged way of saying that I should lie?); sharing too much personal information (I can’t help it if my co-worker has a photogenic memory about my maiden name and license plate number. Yes, I know it’s photographic.)
Overall, I scored a 113. That would be pretty much in the middle. Not shocking. On Monday I get to spend a day learning more about what my report means. I’m pumped! Do you hear me, Bill? PUMPED!