A very important part of an Australian fighter squadron is the ‘Hall of Mirrors’.
It was a fictional place where you would go for self-examination, especially after a serious infraction. A place where your flaws would be visible, and you could spend time thinking about how to improve your performance.
The ability to accurately self-critique is so important as leaders. We must learn how to push our ego aside, and ask ourselves the hard questions. “Why am I weak in this area?”, “Did I prepare well enough?”, “Did my ego cause me to say that?”.
A high performance organisation will have a culture of debriefing, analysing and examining virtually everything it does. Because working for the organisation really means something, the high standards are accepted. This makes it easy for errors to be identified and discussed openly; it’s far easier on our ego to be impartially judged against the standards of the organisation than it is to receive criticism from an individual.
Do you spend enough time in the hall of mirrors? Are you surrounded by ‘yes men’, or do you encourage critical feedback.
You want to be high performance? Get comfortable with hearing the negative.