Is it Possible to Predict Leadership Success? Part 2

On March 15, 2011, in Blog, Leadership, by Christine Glasco

In Part 1 of this Blog Post, I related the research on leadership behavior summarized in What Predicts Executive Success? including:

  • An executive with strong interpersonal skills will drive more positive business results
  • Arrogant, hard-driving, impatient and stubborn leaders rated low on all performance dimensions
  • Bullying behavior leads to bottom-line failure
  • Poor interpersonal skills lead to under-performance
  • Self-awareness should be a top hiring or promotional criterion
  • A high score in self-awareness is the strongest predictor of overall business success

Another viewpoint offers vision, communicating vision and decisiveness as the three most required leadership competencies for success. While leadership theorists may disagree on which are the most impactful set of soft skills, they all tend to agree that proficiency in soft skills is a necessary ingredient to leadership success. How a leader performs impacts overall success.

When I consider the most effective leaders that I have had the privilege to know and observe, the most memorable are the executives who viewed their role as requiring a broad strategic leadership approach in which they balanced the needs of all their constituencies.

They cared deeply for the organization, they cared deeply for and developed their subordinates, they established a learning environment for themselves as well as their teams and they instilled a customer/client first mentality.  They cared about the bottom-line, earnings, shareholder value, profits and performance.

For nearly 10 years, I worked for a medium-sized pharmaceutical and personal products manufacturer.  The best of the best and the most effective leader I know was my boss during those years.

What I valued most was his ability to communicate, inspire and gain buy-in on a Big Vision; the personal and organization values and performance standards he established; his tough but fair approach to handling problems and his personal quest for continuous learning.

Every few months we would have a conversation – not just the obligatory once a year performance discussion.  We covered a broad range of topics during these conversations: company performance, department performance metrics, competitors, new products, etc. He would always ask questions such as: “are you challenged, how can we improve your role to make it more interesting for you, are you contributing enough, are we giving you enough growth-producing assignments, what new innovations should we consider implementing in the next few months, how can we better serve our clients and what else would you like to learn?

He possessed the leadership ability to ask the right questions; he had the wisdom to listen to and act on my answers.

Questions for you to consider:

  • When is the last time you had a ‘conversation’ with your key subordinates?
  • What do you know about your subordinates’ future career plans?
  • Do you only discuss career development with subordinates during the annual performance appraisal?
  •  How would your best employees describe your leadership competencies?
  • How do you communicate and operationalize your Big Vision?

Contact me to discuss your leadership effectiveness goals.

© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on strategic leadership and career management/career transformation solutions. For a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career to help you be more effective in your career, go to www.christineglasco.com

Email: info@christineglasco.com    Phone:  1.940.367.0837

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4 Responses to Is it Possible to Predict Leadership Success? Part 2

  1. John J. Walsh says:

    Christine…You are fortunate to have had such a boss! But there is a reciprocal side of your blog…in the final analysis, a colleague’s conscientiousness, initiative, organizational savvy, smarts, willingness to learn, ability to implement suggestions and exceptional communication and interpersonal skills carry the day. What you describe seems more of a high functioning team than a boss subordinate relationship, and that is how it should be. One’s leadership behavior (acted, not just spoken) brings out the best qualities in those that possess the innate ability to reciprocate.

    • John, I agree — we built a Dream Team, at an exciting time in the company’s history. However, even a Dream Team can lose focus and commitment if the culture is not supportive. You established and brought to life a culture where the individual stars and the team as a whole – could thrive. So accept the notion that your team attributes their individual and group ‘wins’ in large part to your leadership style.

  2. Christine — It is clear the \conversations\ you had \every few months\ had a big impact on your personal growth and how you felt about your leader. As you know, my focus is the development of dynamic teamwork through effective team leadership. I have learned from working with outstanding team leaders over the past many years how powerful it is for the leader to engage each of their team members in a monthly \one-to-one\ (121) meeting in addition to the team’s usual meetings. During the monthly ‘121’ meeting the team leader, in addition to the questions you listed, explores the status of the outstanding actions the team member has committed to complete for the team. The dynamic team leader looks for opportunities to help the team member clarify any barriers they are encountering in completing their commitments. They do not solve these issues but rather help the team member bring the issue to the rest of the team for their advice and help in removing or minimizing the barrier. The dynamic team leader guides this process and gains additional commitments from the individual to actions needed to overcome the barriers and deliver the results the team needs to reach their goals. These ‘121’ meetings build engagement, commitment, personal accountability and loyalty.

  3. Christine Glasco says:

    Tom, I like the monthly (121) meeting practice; this practice allows the leader to be on top of developmental needs as well as individual and team wins from the individual member’s perspective. I also think the step of the leader providing guidance to the team member on how to articulate problems and how to ask for team recommendations and/or input on solutions is an excellent way to involve everyone in the solutions. Thanks for your comments.

    Christine

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