The Reality Gap

The Reality Gap: This refers to the difference between how you view yourself and how those you lead feel about you. A leader who loses the faith and confidence of their workforce won’t be able to attract and retain talent, will have a culture on life support, and subpar performance that ensures only one thing— a limited shelf life. Let’s stop right here and do a quick gut check. I want you to rate yourself as a

leader on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the worst in leadership and 10 being the best in leadership. I don’t want you to rate your leadership potential, but rather how you are currently performing as a leader. This is a risk-free evaluation, as nobody will see your score but you; do this now and write the number here ____. Here’s what we know to be true based upon the empirical evidence gleaned from

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conducting thousands of interviews with senior executives. Regardless of your position/title, you likely rated yourself between a 6 and an 8. Am I right? The reality is regardless of how transparent you tried to be, 90+ percent of all people in leadership positions won’t rate themselves below a 6. Similarly, 90+ percent of people in leadership positions won’t rate themselves higher than an 8. While this first set of data might not shock you, here’s something else we know

about leadership self-evaluations—leaders consistently overrate themselves. How do we know this? Because we have also surveyed thousands of subordinates and peers, as well as those whom the leaders report to.