“Authors quotes: Insight 4. The relationship between improved leadership and increased performance outcomes is neither precisely incremental nor is it linear.
After evaluating a variety of different assessments comparing leadership effectiveness with outcomes measured above (discussed in last week’s post), a distinct pattern emerged in almost all of our studies. Poor leaders (those up to the 20th percentile) had poor results, while leaders above the 80th percentile achieved exceptional results. Looking at only those two data points, the relationship appears fairly linear, but in each case where we examined those leaders with good results (20th to 80th percentiles), they achieved approximately the same level of outcomes even though their effectiveness ranged from the 20th to the 80th percentile. The concept that leadership effectiveness is not precisely incrementally related to performance outcomes means that incremental improvements in leadership will not create incremental improvements in performance outcomes. Perhaps if it did, people would be more focused on improvement. They would see that a slight improvement in their leadership ability created improved performance created improved job performance. Leaders whose effectiveness ratings are at the 40th or 50th percentile end up achieving about the same performance as the leaders at the 60th or 70th percentile. Those at the 40 or 50th percentile and who choose to conserve the energy involved in change might ask themselves, ‘What’s the point? My results are the same as others who are working to improve their leadership.’ The lack of incremental movement of leadership and performance makes it difficult for people to make the jump to extraordinary performance. And so most choose to be satisfied with good performance rather to move forward to higher levels. Some organizations as well appear to be satisfied with leaders that are good.”
Simply put, organizations, for a variety of reasons, choose to be good, but not exceptional. Exceptional is difficult, in any facet of life, yet that should be the goal, and one worth achieving.
Personal experience involved taking my van in for service this week. During van service time I walked to a local restaurant for breakfast, and passed a few empty buildings along the way. As I passed them I wondered what had happened to those businesses? It’s sad to think of the loss to the owners, employees and the city. Numerous reasons may exist for why they failed, and I may have written about some in this blog. Others reasons may have been out of their control yet without preparation (education, business plans, proper experiences/training, goals, job descriptions, expectations) failure is a greater possibility than success.
I do believe there is a connection between passion for a specific type of work, and success. Wanting to own a business is not enough of a passion for success. I would not have known my passion for human resources without direction, and the US Army.
Next: The Extraordinary Leader
Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
AN OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT IDEAS IN THIS BOOK