In our recent work with a CEO, we asked him how things were going with his team, what they felt he was doing well and where they had concerns.  He reflected on this question for quite a while before saying he had no idea what they thought of his work or his impact.  He said his team was a strong group, for the most part, but were not confident when it came to challenging him or giving him clear feedback on his behavior.  The absence of this kind of mirroring left him vulnerable – we all need to understand how we are showing up and how we are impacting those around us as well as the systems in which we live and work.  We all need good mirrors.

You don’t have to be a CEO of a Fortune 100 company to understand that you need people around you to provide you with a clear and accurate reflection.  In fact, mirroring gives you a clear advantage on your journey to success.  With mirroring, it is easier to understand what you are doing well to create success and what you need to do differently to have the impact you are committed to having – whether as a parent, a colleague, a boss or a CEO. 

As you look at your work and your life, see if you have good mirrors in your circle:

  1. People whose opinion and perspective you respect
    • Getting feedback from someone who you don’t respect is a bit like looking into a distorted mirror and trying to get a clear look at yourself
  2. People who know how to communicate well and are able to put into words their experience of your impact and influence
  3. People who are as willing to give you glowing, positive feedback as well as concerning or critical feedback – thoughtfully and in a way that you can hear it
  4. Then there are those folks who are reactive and problematic but often see things before others do
    • They may not be easy but there are those people who provide you mirrors that are a bit fractured but have something to offer you
  5. And be certain you have some people in your circle who really like and respect you
    • We all need one or more of these, if not at work, at least in our personal lives
    • They hold even the most difficult feedback with love and remind you that your missteps are not catastrophes but opportunities for growth

Whatever role you are in – in work, in your community, in your home – you need to get an accurate understanding of the impact you are having and the strengths that you bring so that you can build on your skills and refine those areas that are blocking your success. 

Take some time this week to look around your circle of colleagues, friends and family to assess if you have the kinds of mirrors you need.  Next week we will talk about how to find people who can be your mirrors.