Is Your Leadership Effective
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In many ways, good leadership is hard to define. It can't be directly
measured. There's no leadership "score" or report card. So, the questions
remains, how can you tell if your leadership skills are effective?
In many ways, good leadership is hard to define. It can't be directly
measured. There's no leadership "score" or report card. In fact often the
measure of leadership is qualitative rather than quantitative - although
quantitative results always follow. So, the questions remains, how can you tell
if your leadership skills are effective?
Plain and simple, leadership is about getting others to take action. If
leadership effectiveness is lacking, less than best effort is put forth. The
better the leadership, the better the effort. Exceptional leadership inspires
the best effort in others.
Effective leadership is a function of both individual competencies and
organizational culture. What are some signs that leadership isn't as effective
as it could be? There are a number of them. They are indications that something
is missing in the leadership equation.
* Inability to Motivate People * Difficulty Attracting/Retaining the Right
People * Low Productivity * Poor Customer Orientation * High Stress * Isolation
* Declining Profits * Ineffective Delegation * Lack of Creativity * Lack of
Initiative * Ineffective Teams * Poor Communications * Lack of Vision *
Diminishing Revenues * High Turnover
What can be done to improve leadership effectiveness? The answer is simple to
understand and yet not so simple to implement. It starts with understanding the
foundations of what makes someone an effective leader and what kind of
organizational culture is most effective.
Effective Personal Leadership
When I ask workshop participants about characteristics of both good and bad
leaders, the list never includes issues of intelligence, technical skills, or
effective decision-making! Instead, the list is full of people-related traits -
good listener, respectful, good communicator, develops others, …
Effective personal leadership can be summarized as being competent in these
* Becoming Influential * Facilitating Teamwork & Collaboration * Being a
Catalyst for Change * Managing Conflict * Developing Others * Having &
Communicating a Compelling Vision
Unfortunately, improving one's competency in these areas is often a
challenge. Let me explain why… Unlike factual information, which gets processed
in the neo-cortex of the brain, people-related skills are processed in part of
the brain called the amygdala. This portion of the brain regulates emotional
insights and responses rather than logical insights and responses. Improving the
leadership skills set forth above require one to break old habits/responses and
form new ones, and we aren't able to do this simply by learning and acquiring
knowledge. That's the difference between the neo-cortex and the amygdala.
There are a couple of inherent challenges with this process. Pretty much
everyone acknowledges that they have room for improvement. The first challenge
is knowing which areas to improve. We all have blind spots. We're aware of some
of our shortcomings, but usually not all of them. Secondly, breaking habits and
forming new ones requires commitment, persistence, and time. It usually takes
support from others - people who can point out when you've acted in a way
contradictory to your intent. It's important to use a reliable assessment to
identify areas of growth opportunity. From those results, we can develop a plan
of development which bolsters weaker areas and leverages stronger areas. The
final aspect of a successful personal development plan relies on having one or
more people who can support you, give unbiased, non-judgmental feedback, and
help you make course corrections.
The foundations of a strong organization are:
1. Developing a clear and compelling Purpose 2. Identifying the
organization's Mission to achieve the Purpose 3. Agreeing on a set of Values by
which to carry out the Mission 4. Adopting a Servant Leader attitude throughout
An organization's Purpose is the "Why" of its existence. It's not what it
does as much as what it is striving to accomplish. It is a statement of the
greater good it is attempting to achieve. It answers the question: "Why are we
here?" and helps give clarity and focus to each person in the organization. It
is the yardstick by which decisions are measured.
An organization's Mission is the "What" of an organization. It is a
definition of what the company does to achieve its stated Purpose. It begins to
define the core proficiencies of a business and helps keep it focused on
achieving its Purpose.
An organization's set of Values is the "How" of an organization. It defines
what an organization most values in the execution of its Mission. It's not an
all encompassing list of possible values as much as a statement of what the
organization most values in its people and their conduct. It defines behaviors
and culture within an organization. It helps set the guidelines of what is and
is not acceptable.
At the core of Servant Leadership is the premise that the customer is the
most important person to the organization. As a consequence of that premise, it
only follows that the most important people to the customer are the frontline
staff. They're the people who customers interact with on a daily basis. This
understanding leads to the philosophy that the job of the manager of the
frontline people is to make their jobs as easy and effective as possible so the
customer has the best experience possible. The result is an organizational chart
that looks like an inverted pyramid. This servant attitude focuses leaders on
developing those around them. It leads to people working together in a
collaborative, solution-oriented environment.
How does one go about developing Purpose, Mission, and Values? Falling back
on our understanding of Servant Leadership and the importance of everyone in the
organization, the creation of Purpose, Mission and Values requires input from
people in all areas of the company. They (the Purpose, Mission, and Values) need
to be relevant to all involved, they need to be consistent with one another, and
they need to be used consistently as a yardstick for decisions and policies.
There's nothing worse than developing Values and just paying them lip-service by
not living them day-to-day. A practice like that lacks integrity and actually
becomes a demoralizer.
In summary, when we combine personal competency in all areas of leadership
skills with an organizational culture which supports people, their development,
and their success, we end up with exceptional leadership which, in turn,
inspires the best effort in others. © 2005 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.
About the Author
by Michael Beck, an Executive Coach and Strategist specializing in
employee engagement, executive development, and leadership
effectiveness. Connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mjbeck
and visit www.michaeljbeck.com
to learn more.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-12-29 01:56:18 in Employee Articles