Picture in your mind an effective leader from your past or present. What do you think are the top five qualities that made them a good leader? When we ask clients this question, we often receive responses such as:
- Positive Attitude
Which of the leaders in the following leadership situations exhibit the most of those characteristics:
- A former high school basketball coach led his team to many championships.
- A current CEO drives corporate profits beyond expectations year after year.
- A former teacher impacted the lives of many students by encouraging them to a higher education.
- A general led his troops to victory against unbelievable odds.
- A manager is able to keep her staff continuously motivated to perform beyond expectations.
Can you tell if that basketball coach was decisive? Can you determine that the CEO was passionate? Does it really matter which qualities they possessed in common? Actually, it doesn’t. But all of these leaders do have something in common – their ability to get results.
In today’s dynamic and uncertain business environment it doesn’t matter what characteristics leaders may or may not exhibit.
Leadership is no longer about possessing certain personal characteristics, but rather about the ability to set goals and achieve them.
The traditional, competency-based leadership model holds that leaders must possess a certain set of characteristics. Using this thinking, the task of training and developing new leaders becomes truly daunting. You need to designate the exact characteristics you want your leaders to exhibit and train to those. This assumes that if you grow the leadership qualities in people, somehow, magically, this will impact organizational results.
In our experience, shifting leadership characteristics is a slow and tricky process. In today’s world of fast-paced business, who has the time to wait? More importantly, who has the time to wait and hope it will work?
The solution is to shift the leadership paradigm. Instead of looking for some list of characteristics, expect your leaders to demonstrate the ability to get results.
It’s time to embrace a result-based model of leadership.
If organizations define what results are required, they can then grow the people and processes to achieve those results.
So how do you go about instituting this model?
Step one: set clear goals through your organization’s strategic plan that are focused on your vision. This is where you should define the results you want from your leaders.
Step two: align the people and the processes in your organization to get those results. The goal is to have all of your operations linked to the plan. Then, virtually everything that happens in your organization works purposefully toward achieving your goals and realizing your vision.
With clear goals, and processes designed to achieve them, you must commit to leadership development programs that aggressively grow people to deliver results, rather than embody some collection of characteristics, so you can quickly and consistently achieve your vision of your company.