How Is Your Organization Or Group’s Leadership Viewed Differently, Internally And Externally?

Leadership Lesson: For a variety of strategic reasons, it’s critical to ensure the external image of a company to stakeholders reconciles with the experience of the internal stakeholders.

How often have you been in an environment where the external perception of leadership was at odds with the internal perception of that leadership?

In some cases, the public may praise the leadership of a group while the group itself has a negative opinion, for any number of reasons, about that leader.

Or, in other cases, the public scoffs at or has a negative opinion of a leader while the rank-and-file of that group supports him or her.

The latter seems to be the case with Uber and it’s former CEO Travis Kalanick, where a new survey shows his employees carry overwhelming support for him despite a series of missteps by both the company and Kalanick which have stalled the ride-sharing company’s meteoric rise.

Both of these scenarios can spell trouble for an organization, its strategy and mission.

Where the public has a poor perception but internally employees are happy, the organization will generally experience less public support and patronage. Impressions and reputation are everything. Very rarely will poor perception of a company or group not impact its success, mission, or bottom line.

Related: How Does Your Role As The Leader Make The Case For Your Organization or Mission?

Where the public has a favorable perception but the rank-and-file do not, the company will also not achieve its true potential. Whether the employee perception leads to ill-will or low morale, which may exist for any variety of reasons, employees will not be giving 100%, their heart will not be in the game, and they will not bring their best skills forward.

(In some cases, the poor view exists in and is obvious to both those on the inside and outside. Ask Rex Tillerson.)

Related: What People Teach Us: Rex Tillerson – Taking The Pulse Of The Organization You Lead

Uber is just another case highlighting how different the priorities can be between those on the outside and those on the inside of a company. Each group has their own expectations of what the company should be, and what it should achieve and accomplish.

It’s intriguing to think so much has happened within the last year at Uber, leading Kalanick to resign, and yet the employees spell it out clearly in a survey, that they believe enough in his presence in the company.

So…What About You?

  • Depending on which situation you found yourself in, how did you reconcile the difference of opinion, internally vs. externally, of your leader?
  • Were there any changes made going forward to change the perceptions of either side?
  • Was the group able to turn around perceptions once the realization of the discrepancy was brought to light?

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