“Insight 5. Great leadership consists of possessing several ‘building blocks’ of capabilities, each complementing the others. We have described the ‘building blocks’ of :
– Personal capabilities
– Focus on results
– Interpersonal skills
– Leading organizational change
Each of these consist of several fairly distinct competencies or sets of behaviors. A key insight is that possessing only one of them is not likely to have you perceived as an effective leader. In fact, leaders possessing one competency as a strength at the 90th percentile would not be rated at the 90th percentile in terms of overall leadership effectiveness.
Insight 6. Leadership culminates in championing change. The highest expression of leadership involves change, and the highest order of change is guiding an organization through a new strategic direction, changing its culture, or changing the fundamental business model. Thus, change is an important and ultimate criterion by which to measure leadership effectiveness.
Insight 7. All competencies are not equal. Some differentiate good leaders from great leaders, while others do not. There has been an enormous amount of money spent, mostly by larger corporations, to define competencies. The implication of these lists has often been that all of these were of equal importance, and that the wise manager would devote time to being good at all of them.
Our research, on the contrary, suggests that some competencies tower above others, and which ones are most important often depends on the organization. For example, in one organization we studied the data showed that the single most important competency for a leader was to be seen as technically competent. Conversely, the quality that put leaders into the bottom rung was their lack of technical competence. This one characteristic was far more important than the second or third distinguishing capability.
The point is that if people seek to be perceived as great leaders, it behooves them to know which competencies really make a difference in their organization. Our research identified 16 competencies that actually separated the top 10 percent of all leaders from the rest. We believe these are the competencies on which most leaders should focus (comprises Chapter 4 of the book).
Insight 8. Leadership competencies are linked closely together. While an effort has been made to make them appear unique and specific, the fact of the matter is that leadership competencies are highly intertwined. Several forces appear to to be at work to make this happen. One is that becoming good at one competency appears to make people better at another. This is the ‘cross-training effects.’ The second way they become linked appears to be from ‘attribution’ or the creation of a ‘halo effect.’ If a leader is perceived as being high effective in working with people, then it is easy to attribute to that person the skills of being committed to the development of subordinates.”
Insight 7 speaks to the need for leaders to surround themselves with those who will assist in meeting, and strengthening all 16 competencies (future discussion).
Next: The Extraordinary Leader
Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
AN OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT IDEAS IN THIS BOOK