How many leadership behaviors have you read about? Ten? Twenty? Another number?
Pretty mind-boggling, isn’t it? And if you are like many, such a sea of varying information can cause you to simply put the latest article aside and go back to doing things the way you know how.
In the world of leadership development, schools of thought are just as varied, and this means that I, as executive coach, can choose to use an assessment that evaluates 10 areas, or 26 areas.
So, now what?
If you are seeking to fast-track your leadership in this new year, I advise that you focus on enhancing just a small subset of four leadership behaviors.
Just four areas.
New research reveals that these four types of leadership behaviors account for 89% of leadership effectiveness, especially for front-line leaders. (Source: McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index https://www.mckinsey.com/)
McKinsey & Company surveyed 81 organizations, diverse in industry and geography (agriculture, consulting, energy, government, insurance, mining, and real estate in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe).
The results showed the following four areas of leadership to be most important, explaining 89% of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness.
- Supporting others.
- Solving problems effectively.
- Operating to follow through for results.
- Seeking different perspectives.
What does this mean for you?
Well, what it doesn’t mean is that you just need these four and then you can sit back and relax. But what it does mean is that, as you review your leadership commission and where to start, it may well be with these four.
Rating yourself on a scale of 1-5, how do you feel you measure up?
I’ve included some reflective questions to help you begin your assessment:
Do you operate with authenticity, and show a sincere interest in those around you? Do you seek to inspire and build trust? Are you adopting the approach “tough on issues, tender on people”?
Solving problems effectively.
Are you thoughtful as you analyze and consider best options for action? Do you seek to be proactive in identifying and anticipating challenges, and to come up with solutions, rather than to react too quickly without the information you need, risking a poor decision?
Operating to follow through for results.
Do you marry vision and supporting strategy to action? Have you mastered the behaviors required to meet your goals and objectives, and can you manage people, products, and process effectively so that outcomes are a reflection of your best work?
Seeking different perspectives.
As esoteric as it sounds, do you “seek first to understand, then to be understood?” (Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People). Do you ask your team members to contribute ideas for performance improvement? Are you keeping the pulse on changes in the environment that are likely to influence your company and your work?
Developing any one of these four is a game-changer, and I will tell you frankly that you probably won’t do this alone. Why? It is one thing to be self-aware about the changes one needs to make, and it’s quite another to be able to effectuate those shifts and make them part of who you truly are. You will need to tap into some kind of expert support to step into more of this potential.
This said, the first step to change is to identify the needed change. So, where will you start? What will give you the greatest ROI in your own leadership?
And secondly, who might help you get there?
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.