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Six lessons on leadership – part 1

Postat de la 16 Mar, 2018 in categoria Leadership

I am obsessed with the topic of leadership. Organizations need leaders to make key decisions, anticipate and manage changing market trends, and set strategic vision. When competent leadership prevails, people and companies prosper. Bad leadership almost always creates disengaged workers, corporate chicanery, and, eventually, business failure.

The problem with most leadership competency models is they fail to distinguish between successful managers—people who are rapidly promoted in their organizations, and effective managers—people whose subordinates are committed and whose organizational units perform well. If we distinguish between these groups and review of the leadership literature from the perspective of team effectiveness we find six useful generalizations.

1. What followers want from their leaders

The first concerns the characteristics that people want to see in their leaders. Kouzes and Posner (2010) devised a simple paradigm for studying this: ask people to describe the best and the worst managers they have ever had using a standardized format. This research reveals that people evaluate leaders in terms of four broad categories:

  1. Integrity – Followers want to know that the people in charge won’t take advantage of their positions – won’t lie, steal, play favorites, or betray their subordinates.
  2. Judgment – The success or failure of organizations depends on decision-making. Some leaders make better decisions than others.
  3. Competence – Good leaders seem to know what they are talking about, to be competent in the team’s business. Subordinates see leaders who lack business acumen as empty suits, and are unwilling to follow them.
  4. Vision – Good leaders can explain how their mission fits into the larger scheme of things. This vision clarifies roles, goals, and the way forward, thereby facilitating team performance.

These four themes emerge in descending order—integrity is the most important attribute and vision is the least important—but all four are crucial components of leaders’ reputations. Conversely, leaders who lack integrity, good judgment, competence, and vision will surely fail.

Author: Robert Hogan, PhD, professor of I/O psychology

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