Insight 16. Leadership attributes are often developed in non obvious ways. Our research has helped us uncover a new approach to behavioral change that we have arbitrarily called nonlinear development. We will argue that the vast majority of action plans created by leaders use a linear philosophy regarding behavioral change. But, the perception of competency may be strengthened in non obvious ways. We will argue that competencies are not reality, but are the perceptions of others about a given leader. There may be non obvious ways to improve how leaders are perceived. We have called these ‘competency companions’, and these are behaviors that always rise or fall with another competency. While it is impossible to prove cause and effect between the two, the fact that they are laced so tightly together suggests that something important can be learned from them.
The practical implications of this are huge. For example, assume that a leader in an organization receives the following feedback: ‘Your subordinates do not see you as highly motivational or inspirational. They do not feel energized after they interact with you. They do not feel their horizons are expanded after meeting with you.’
The common and seemingly practical way to address this message and change these perceptions would be to do the following (2 of 4):
-Enroll in a public-speaking course in order to learn how to be more compelling in presentations.
-Read good texts or articles on human motivation.
Our research, however, on the competency companions to ‘inspires and motivates others’ reveals some different ways to improve people’s perceptions on this competency.
The issue here is one of providing clear and specific communication, which is typically left out of conversations (related to all aspects of leadership). As the authors state, “There is obviously something about being clear that is closely linked with people feeling motivated and inspired.” Authors use the word, “Expectations”, and you have heard me write about expectations more than once. Without clear and specific expectations words can be interpreted in many ways, typically dependent on life experiences. Expectations should address Who, What, Where, and When, at least.
Further discussion on Insight 16 would not be helpful. Please consider the importance of non-linear development (something other than the obvious) to improve competencies/performance.
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Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
AN OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT IDEAS IN THIS BOOK