To develop your leadership potential, take a bite of PIE

In my role as director of talent management, one of the most pleasurable things I get to do is coach leaders within our colleges and universities as they explore their career options, strengthen their leadership skill set, and interview for the many leadership opportunities that we have. As people prepare for taking that next step, it is often helpful to ask them think about their PIE.

What is PIE, you might ask? It’s a useful acronym that I was reminded of at a recent talk on strategic diversity leadership. PIE stands for Performance, Image, and Exposure.

Performance, of course, is the baseline for all leaders. When looking for leaders, we are always looking for those who have high performance and high potential. In the words of one of our senior leaders, “we are looking for rock stars!”

Here are some questions for you to consider with regards to performance:

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What goals are you setting for yourself and how are you meeting them?
  3. What difficult or complex projects have you accomplished recently?
  4. Are you satisfied not only with what you’ve accomplished, but how you’ve accomplished it?
  5. How can you build upon your good performance to make it great?

Image is what you are known for.  It is the personal brand that you project based upon what you do, how you communicate what you do, and how you present yourself to the world. Ask yourself:

  1. What am I known for in my work community?
  2. What would my supervisor or others say about my knowledge, skills, and abilities?
  3. How am I using my expertise and my sphere of influence to be of service to others?
  4. Do I project an image of professionalism in my communications, both verbally and in writing?
  5. Am I trustworthy? Have I demonstrated reliability, respect, and competence to others?
  6. How am I managing first, second, and third impressions? Is there something in my personal appearance that might need to be updated?

Exposure is the opportunity to meet with internal and external leaders and groups who aren’t in your normal sphere of colleagues. Positive exposure can build your credibility quickly and open up leadership opportunities that may have been closed to you. Ask yourself:

  1. When was the last time I took a risk to speak to leaders or groups outside of my normal work sphere?
  2. What possible opportunities do I have in the future to: a) make a presentation; b) lead a project team; c) network with others?
  3. How might I initiate a conversation with my supervisor to create new job assignments that would increase my exposure?
  4. Is there a particular leader that I could ask about initiating a mentoring relationship?
  5. What current job openings are of interest to me and which ones should I apply to?

As I’ve coached others throughout the last week, whether it’s in improving their leadership performance or image, or increasing their exposure through interview preparation, I’ve thought about my own PIE. One of my strengths is that I’m an achiever and work to “get things done.” This was repeated back to me yesterday, when in a rush at the end of the day, I delivered a report, with many attachments to my supervisor. I told her that I was in a panic to get it done and turned in by the deadline we had set. She said, “I wasn’t worried about that Anita, you always meet your deadlines.” Whew! I walked away thinking, “that’s part of my personal brand.” That’s one thing down, now I have to keep working on exposure.

What parts of PIE resonate with you?

Anita Rios


One response to “To develop your leadership potential, take a bite of PIE

  1. Pingback: Lists and more lists! | Higher EDge

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