Episode 120: The Mirrors of Leadership that Lead to Change

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: September 26, 2023


In today’s fast-paced, complex world, leaders need mirrors. The mirrors they need, however, go far beyond reflecting their physical appearance. Leaders need mirrors that reflect their behavior and the impact their behavior has on others. That requires much more than a piece of glass with a thin layer of metallic silver on the back. Leaders need mirrors to interpret data and feed it back to them in a practical form.

Key Learnings

  1. Leadership Mirrors:
    • Modern leaders require mirrors that provide feedback on their behavior and its impact on others. These mirrors should offer practical interpretations of the data.
  2. Three Main Leadership Mirrors:
    • 360-degree feedback:Described as a 2.0 mirror, it offers candid, constructive, and accurate feedback by pooling opinions from over a dozen colleagues.
    • Its breadth covers various facets of leadership, from character and interpersonal skills to leadership in change.
  3. Direct Feedback from Colleagues:
    • Personal feedback from peers is invaluable, but it’s often rarely given unsolicited.
    • A formula to ask for feedback involves explaining the reason (Why), being specific about the request (What), and showing appreciation.
  4. Coaching:
    • Whether internal or external to the organization, a coaching relationship can be extremely beneficial.
    • Coaching focuses on personal development and ensures follow-through and sustainment.
  5. Gen Z and Coaching:
    • Gen Z has distinct perspectives on careers and defining success. They prefer to be coached instead of managed, valuing the collaborative nature of coaching.
  6. Historical Context:
    • Mirrors have seen significant evolution, from primitive versions found in ancient civilizations to the modern-day mirrors developed by applying metallic silver to clear glass.
    • However, the most valuable mirrors today are those that provide interpretative feedback and actionable suggestions, much like the three leadership mirrors mentioned.

In conclusion, to be effective and adaptive leaders in today’s fast-paced world, it’s imperative to have mirrors that don’t just passively reflect what’s in front of them but provide constructive feedback and actionable insights.

Connect with Jack Zenger


Zenger Folkman hosts an exclusive live webinar every month, where you can meet Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman and join in a conversation about their latest research in leadership development. Find out more information and register here.


A Meeting Everyone Likes? Ways To Achieve This Impossible Dream– Article By Jack Zenger