The Extraordinary Leader, Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, WHAT CAUSES GOOD LEADERS TO BE UNCHALLENGED TO CHANGE (4 through 5)

 

Authors quotes:

“4. Good leaders often fail to appreciate and understand the differences between good leadership and great leadership.

Too many have remained casual observers of leadership rather than trained judges.  They experience leadership from others and feel the effects (that was great leadership or that was terrible) but lack the insight of how the effect was created or what its longer-lasting consequences will be.

People frequently confuse personality traits for leadership.  They assume that assertiveness, or the ability to make a compelling speech or give people crisp orders, is leadership.  It is not.

In order for people to improve their leadership ability they need to become astute observers of leadership.  They need not only to understand some basic concepts and be reasonably well read, they need to be able to judge everyday interactions and understand what is missing.

5. Many good leaders believe that extraordinary leaders are prodigies, having been endowed with some unusual gifts from birth.  Most recognize that people with exceptional leadership talents exist, but it is difficult for others to understand the path in their development that brought them from being good leaders to being extraordinary leaders.  The bar set to achieve extraordinary leadership seems too high to achieve, and the path to develop extensive skills is not clear.

Most individuals, as they become managers for the first time, go through an intense learning period.  They receive a great deal of training, personal coaching, and are open to ideas and suggestions from experienced managers.  They take time to plan meetings, performance reviews, and how they will give feedback to direct reports.  They also pay close attention to others, watching to understand techniques and skills.  They are practicing leadership with the intent to get better.  Their learning curve is high.  Once they get reasonably competent at being managers they switch from practicing to playing.

Some great leaders are not born with, but acquire at an early age, the desire to make things happen with other people.  We believe that other leaders can acquire increased leadership ability with practice at any age. The real key is that they engage in intense practice.  Bad leaders assume that deliberate practice makes no difference, so they continue to perform, but never improve.

Personal comments:

I had planned to discuss 4 through 6, but it would have been too lengthy.

Personal experience is that none of my leaders understood the difference between good and great.  Most practiced some aspects of great leadership, but none took the time for intense practice, and continued to perform from poor to good.

When the authors took their surveys they discovered subordinates rated their leaders highly, and yet, in this section, they admit that too often personality traits are considered leadership traits.  Observation (behavior, communication, social style) is required to assess leadership ability, beyond personality.  An example of what I am referring to are those who focus on themselves, almost exclusively, and are difficult to be around.

Great leaders do not behave in this manner.  They genuinely show interest in others.

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

WHAT CAUSES GOOD LEADERS TO BE UNCHALLENGED TO CHANGE (6)

The Extraordinary Leader, Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, WHAT CAUSES GOOD LEADERS TO BE UNCHALLENGED TO CHANGE (1 through 3)

 

Authors quotes:

“1. When you mention that there is a leadership effectiveness problem, many people automatically believe that the problem is poor leaders.  There exist a natural human tendency to blame problems on low performers.  We like to assign a scapegoat as the source of any problems.  This can turn into witch-hunts for the ‘bad’ leaders.  Frequently many of the ‘bad’ leaders are new, inexperienced supervisors who need time and training to develop.  It is more tempting to ferret out the bad leaders than to face a reality.  The troubling tendency was most aptly expressed  by Walt Kelly’s comic strip character, Pogo,  when he often observed, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’

Blaming bad leaders is a simple solution.  It is much more difficult to accept that the problem with leadership is the need for everyone to undertake some level of improvement.  Those who are good could have a substantial positive impact on the organization if they moved from good to great.

2. Training programs often send a false impression.  When organizations sponsor trying programs positioned to take bad leaders and make them into good leaders, it unwittingly sends the signal that those leaders who are currently in the ‘good’ category can coast.  Beyond that, most supervisory and management training courseware designed to develop basic leadership skills.  The focus is on acquiring and understanding the fundamental skills required in a leadership role. Many leaders act as if the introductory course in a series in the only course that exists or is necessary for them.  We are aware of only a handful of corporate development programs targeted specifically to make good people great.

3. Many 360-degree leadership assessments compare leader’ results and show how they compare to the average.  The unintended message that most leaders get from the assessments is that if you are in the mid-range, ‘You are okay and okay is good enough.’

Personal comments:

On 1: The opposite is also true in that poor leaders find ways to eliminate those who are not.  One example is the IT vice president who was extremely knowledgeable in that area, yet was singled out by others for elimination.  Instead of supporting this individual the CEO fired him.  The IT VP had some communication issues which could have been corrected with a strong CEO, which unfortunately he, CEO, was not.

On 2: Again, without strong leadership at the top of the organization the management training courses are attended (for appearance sake), but the culture blocked any assimilation into brain or heart, and the CEO fell in line.  Funny how often the weak and the butt-kissers rise in an organization.  Funny as in, ‘we have met the enemy and……’

On 3: The only 360 assessment I took was done personally.  None of the organizations I worked for employed them.  Again, the culture won out.

There is great enjoyment, for me, to observe cultures wherever I go.  Not enjoyment in a positive way; a very sad “enjoyment” (provides tons of material for this blog).  Some employees do rise above the negative culture, but most do not.  The reasons are many, and you probably could name most, if not all, of them.

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

WHAT CAUSES GOOD LEADERS TO BE UNCHALLENGED TO CHANGE

The Extraordinary Leader, Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, LEADERSHIP HAS AN IMPACT ON THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Authors quotes:

“Our purpose in presenting these studies is to impress on the reader that the impact of leadership:

-Affects every measurable dimension of organization performance

-Is large, not trivial

-Is extremely consistent

-Has highly interrelated areas of impact

Poor leaders have a substantial influence on an organization’s success.  They consistently achieve less effective results, create greater turnover, discourage employees and frustrate customers.  Good leaders will achieve good results. A good leader will have fewer turnovers, higher profitability, and more employee commitment.

Incremental improvements in good leaders will not, however, occur until the 70th, 80th, or 90th percentile.  Extraordinary leaders will consistently achieve results that far exceed those of the good leaders.  They will create even less turnover, motivate employees to a much higher degree, and satisfy customers to a much higher level.

These studies clearly demonstrate the significant difference an extraordinary leader makes on bottom-line results and confirm that if leaders can move from the ‘good’ level to the ‘extraordinary’ level at a a reasonable cost to the organization, the return on that investment will be substantial.

IS “GOOD” GOOD ENOUGH

While the results for extraordinary leaders are much better than for poor leaders, the current problem is that too many good leaders feel that being ‘good’ is good enough.  They are satisfied that they are not poor leaders, and, therefore, remain unchallenged to go to the next level. Many of these good leaders do not recognize that continued improvement in leadership would make a substantial difference in the outcomes they are attempting to produce.  Many ‘adequate’ leaders stay where they are because they fail to understand the differences between good and extraordinary leaders.”

Personal comments:

Many remain in uncomfortable, unrewarding, stifling work environments due to the inability to find rewarding places to work.  It’s unfortunate that more Americans are not working; over 94,000,000 , a record.  Add those who work in places they would rather not, just to support themselves and their families, and the future looks bleaker.  Talked with a person recently who is working three jobs.  More typical that it should be!

To add to the misery, we have uncommitted, incapable and rampant poor leadership at all levels, and in all types of organizations with government “leading the way”!  Instead of working to improve their leadership abilities they hang on to their jobs because those they work for are incompetent, self-centered, and I could list all key elements I’ve written about to explain what they are not.

Good is not good enough.

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

WHAT CAUSES GOOD LEADERS TO BE UNCHALLENGED TO CHANGE

Authors quotes:

“Our purpose in presenting these studies is to impress on the reader that the impact of leadership:

-Affects every measurable dimension of organization performance

-Is large, not trivial

-Is extremely consistent

-Has highly interrelated areas of impact

Poor leaders have a substantial influence on an organization’s success.  They consistently achieve less effective results, create greater turnover, discourage employees and frustrate customers.  Good leaders will achieve good results. A good leader will have fewer turnovers, higher profitability, and more employee commitment.

Incremental improvements in good leaders will not, however, occur until the 70th, 80th, or 90th percentile.  Extraordinary leaders will consistently achieve results that far exceed those of the good leaders.  They will create even less turnover, motivate employees to a much higher degree, and satisfy customers to a much higher level.

These studies clearly demonstrate the significant difference an extraordinary leader makes on bottom-line results and confirm that if leaders can move from the ‘good’ level to the ‘extraordinary’ level at a a reasonable cost to the organization, the return on that investment will be substantial.

IS “GOOD” GOOD ENOUGH

While the results for extraordinary leaders are much better than for poor leaders, the current problem is that too many good leaders feel that being ‘good’ is good enough.  They are satisfied that they are not poor leaders, and, therefore, remain unchallenged to go to the next level. Many of these good leaders do not recognize that continued improvement in leadership would make a substantial difference in the outcomes they are attempting to produce.  Many ‘adequate’ leaders stay where they are because they fail to understand the differences between good and extraordinary leaders.”

Personal comments:

Many remain in uncomfortable, unrewarding, stifling work environments due to the inability to find rewarding places to work.  It’s unfortunate that more Americans are not working; over 94,000,000 , a record.  Add those who work in places they would rather not, just to support themselves and their families, and the future looks bleaker.  Talked with a person recently who is working three jobs.  More typical that it should be!

To add to the misery, we have uncommitted, incapable and rampant poor leadership at all levels, and in all types of organizations with government “leading the way”!  Instead of working to improve their leadership abilities they hang on to their jobs because those they work for are incompetent, self-centered, and I could list all key elements I’ve written about to explain what they are not.

Good is not good enough.

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

WHAT CAUSES GOOD LEADERS TO BE UNCHALLENGED TO CHANGE

The Extraordinary Leader, Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, GREAT LEADERS MAKE A GREAT DIFFERENCE

 

Authors quotes:

“GOOD AND BAD LEADERS

In our research we found conclusive evidence that leaders with poor leadership skills generate poor results.  That finding will not come as a shock to anyone.  It is quite intuitive to anyone who has worked in an organization for more than a few weeks.  And our research is equally clear about the fact act good leaders trend to produce good results for their organizations.

What’s more, individuals do not need sophisticated measurement tools to tell the difference between good leaders and bad leaders.  They feel the difference.  they have experienced the effects at a very personal level.  In general, good leaders are more effective than bad leaders in almost every dimension, including customer service, and creating high levels of employee commitment.

In examining the relationship between leadership effectiveness and desirable outcomes, the consistent finding in all our research was the impact of the best and worst leaders on achieving bottom-line results.

-Leaders have a dramatic impact as they move from ‘bad’ to ‘good’.

-Poor leaders have an adverse impact on the groups they attempt to lead.

Personal comments:

I’ll continue to drive home the point that there are Extraordinary Leaders, but they are few and far between. Sometimes it takes time for the point to sink in, and sometimes it never does resulting in loss, personally and organizationally.

An example:

Recently a director of a local company retired.  This director would gave her employees the opportunity to work from home, when it was needed.  Not company policy, but she took the initiative to show employee commitment.

After her retirement the company rescinded that opportunity, and is now requiring that employees work in the office 5 days a week, 8 hours per day.  Employees who need the flexibility have begun resigning.  Those in suits decided they need to track the amount of work completed by each employee (workload, use of time).  Reasonable thought, but true leaders know there are much better ways of accomplishing this task by actually TALKING with employees about ideas they would have to help the company achieve their goal.  Again, those in suits believe they know so much more than those who actually do the work.  Give some a title, and they think they run the world….

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

LEADERSHIP HAS AN IMPACT ON THE BOTTOM LINE

The Extraordinary Leader, Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, AN OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT IDEAS IN THIS BOOK, Completed with this post

 

Authors quotes:

“Insight 17.  Leaders are made not born.  This controversy continues.  The question has not gone away.  We attest that leaders are made.  While this is certainly not a new point of view, we go on record declaring this to be a fact.  We contend that strong evidence exists to support this conclusion.  We readily acknowledge that some people start with advantages of intellect or personality, but the case for leaders being made and be confirmed by finding just one organization that does it successfully (US Marine Corps).

Personal comments:

Some, in my experience, have incredible personalities that make them “the life of the parties”, and others whose intelligence makes them sought after for advice.  Important traits, but does not qualify them as great leaders.  Traits were so significant that other valuable and needed competencies were missing.

Insight 18.  Leaders can improve their leadership effectiveness through self-development.

Personal comments:

Unfortunately it was rare for me to find managers who took time and interest to develop their leadership competencies.  Especially when, as we have covered, their bosses were satisfied with their good performance or found other, more “interesting” ways to spend the day.

Insight 19.  The organization, with a person’s immediate boss, provides significant assistance in developing leadership.

Personal comments:

I can’t recall a time when this happened after Dow.  Dow was an impressive company to work for in my early years there.

After Dow, asking for leadership training was as if I was asking for the incredible.  Agree, somewhat, to the program, then avoid supporting it.  Results were as you would guess.  Minimal improvement, if any.  There were those not in leadership positions hoping that participating in the training would increase their chances of promotions.  Some were successful.

Insight 20.  The quality of leadership in an organization seldom exceeds that of the person at the top.

Personal comments:

Accurate insight.  I witnessed many examples of managers mimicking words and behavior demonstrated by the top person with the hope of making the “right” impression.  Even to designs of ties, belts, clothing, hair styles, and….  Oh how I dislike butt kissers!

Most are not willing to “buck the system”, but I was unwilling not to.  I’ve always worked to support the underdog.  Titles are insignificant, but caring, compassionate, supportive, forthright behaviors are not.  Wanting a title without the rest is one reason why this country is lost in the minutiae of talk, talk, talk, minus any positive action/results.

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

GREAT LEADERS MAKE A GREAT DIFFERENCE