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The Power of Three

OwlsAll of us find ignoring feedback quite easy—all too often the source doesn’t really understand the situation, or your intentions, or how different your needs are from others, right?

Ignoring results on many psychological assessments or instruments can be easy, too. After all, they can read like horoscopes, or you’ve gone through the same thing in a different workplace, or the information doesn’t add any thing new to what you’ve seen before, right?

And, reading about leadership can be pointless as well since no one yet became a great leader simply by reading books, blogs, and research studies.

We’re masters at rationalizing away any message we don’t want to hear—or at justifying our own beliefs. In The Righteous Mind, Haidt puts it this way

“Each individual reasoner is really good at one thing: finding evidence to support the positions he or she already holds, usually for intuitive reasons. We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play.” (p. 90)

But what if all three send the same message? Suddenly, it resonates with the person. In fact, there’s often a pause and then, “…um, my spouse has been trying to get my attention on that point, too. Maybe I do need to work on it.”

That’s why we use multiple tools with our clients whenever we can. Personality type, popularized through the MBTI, is a great tool for helping people understand how every strength, overdone, can become a weakness, yet many people have only had shallow experiences with type tools and don’t understand their power. The EQi 2.0 provides pointed insights into how well we understand and work with our emotions and those of others, yet many people still think of emotional intelligence as “soft skills” rather than the hard skills of leadership. And whether through 360 feedback, or surveys, or performance review information, or other method, we want them to have useful feedback.

The power of three means that when our clients are ready to work toward becoming better leaders, they have a far better chance of choosing the right priorities and working on the right goals.


Haidt, J. (2012). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York: Pantheon Books.

Jane Kise is a consultant and executive coach. The founder of Differentiated Coaching Associates and author of over 20 books, she works with schools and businesses worldwide to help create environments where everyone can flourish.

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