Is leadership rocket science? You might think so after you Google “leadership” and get 374 million results in a nanosecond. It’s no wonder executives don’t focus attention on their own leadership development. But if you ask them if it makes a difference, they all can point to the superstars in their organization who are doing amazing things to exceed plan, to create new markets and to bring in top talent. So, leadership matters. Only no one can tell you what it is!
Here’s a news flash from ExecutiveScience – leadership is not rocket science; it’s real science that anyone can immediately grasp. We’ve found a way to simplify what leadership IS and what it is NOT. We want there to be no misunderstanding, no misconceptions, and no excuses for anything less than outstanding leadership.
Leadership is a function of four factors:
- Being able to get results,(Results Orientation)
- Inspiring and engaging others to make that happen,(People Orientation)
- Using collective intelligence to make great short and long-term decisions,(Strategic Orientation) and
- Having the character and integrity that reinforces the first 3 characteristics. (Character)
So, here’s the straightforward formula for leadership.
Results Orientation + People Orientation + Strategic Orientation + Character = Leadership
Not rocket science. Yeah but…
Leadership is often significantly diminished by three irresistible ego needs that executives may be unaware of and that override positive leadership:
- When success is all that matters, micromanagement is inevitable.
- The need to be accepted and liked gets in the way of holding people accountable for performance issues.
- If you believe youhave to be the smartest person in the room, no one else’s ideas will measure up.
(BTW – these leadership limiting factors are the tempting dark side of results, people and strategy.)
That said, outstanding executive leadership creates sustainable, breakthrough results. Leadership done poorly undermines organizational outcomes slowly, almost imperceptibly but inevitably, leading to less- than-ideal outcomes.
Once executives understand that leadership is simple, they can readily improve executive performance by focusing on positive leadership behaviors and/or abandoning their ego-driven limiting factors. This is done by quantifying leadership and building a scorecard to measure executive performance. Up next … quantify.