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How can I evaluate my leadership performance?

8 entrepreneurs offer advice for leaders who want to find out, "Am I doing a bad job?"

4 min read



The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

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Q. What is one thing I should do as a leader to evaluate my own performance? How/why does it work?

1. Go on vacation

Go on a vacation and see how many unresolved emails and issues there are when you get back. If you’re empowering your people with the knowledge, skills, abilities and authority to carry on without you, know you’re doing all right. I don’t ever want to be the single point of failure in my business. — Chris Cancialosi, gothamCulture

2. Get anonymous 360-degree feedback

Have a third party collect anonymous 360-degree feedback from the people you work with most closely. Seeing you take feedback seriously and being proactive about soliciting it preempts a higher level of response from your team. — Christopher Kelly, Convene

3. Google yourself, your company, and your team

Do some research on your company and you’ll get an idea of how you, your brand, and your team is doing. Has your company recently faced a crisis? How did you handle it, and how did it reflect in the media? For example, Buffer recently had to downsize their team, and their founder wrote a lengthy blog post explaining why. They kept everything transparent and in line with their brand. — Dave Nevogt,

4. Meet other entrepreneurs regularly

The best feedback often comes from other entrepreneurs. Form a mastermind group with other business owners you know, or join a group that already exists. The important thing is to meet regularly. You want a group that understand your goals and will help keep you accountable for meeting them. — John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

5. Hire a coach

Unfortunately, leaders face a feedback drought at the top. One of the easiest and best solutions is to hire a part-time business coach. They can provide a much-needed outside objective view that you simply can’t find elsewhere. An honest coach who doesn’t beat around the bush is always worth it. — Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

6. Hand out employee-satisfaction surveys

Ask your employees to take an anonymous survey about your performance and, in the survey, ask them for direct ways that you could improve. Take the information from the surveys and aggregate it to create an employee-driven analysis. What do many of them agree you could do better? What is your strongest skill? How can you improve as a leader? Ask, and you shall receive! — Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

7. Invert your review chart

I worked for an organization where all reviews were done in the opposite direction of the org chart. Instead of the CEO reviewing their team, the team reviewed the CEO and talked about wins, areas for growth, and transformational moments. This encouraged real and open dialogue and helped employees to build a culture of clarity and accountability that leveled the playing field. — Julian Miller, Learnmetrics

8. Think like an employee

Before making any important decisions, I ask myself if I would still want to work here after the decision was made. Thinking like an employee and not a co-founder is a humbling rule of thumb when it comes to evaluating my own performance. By asking yourself this question, you’ll ensure that the decision you’re making is driving the development and growth of both your team and your business. — Chris Savage, Wistia