The Extraordinary Leader Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, The Complexity Of Defining And Describing Leadership Or Why The Mystery Exists, Part 2, continuation of leadership variables


Authors quotes:

“9. There has been no way to define the different constituencies of the leader.  Thus, if a leader is in charge of ‘baby boomers’ this would call for some different values, motives, and skills than if the leader was responsible for a group of ‘Gen-Xers’.

10. Still another variable is whether the leaders is operating alone versus acting as part of a leadership team. There are organizations in which one person plays a dominant part and exercises control and influence over the big issues.  Other organizations have a leadership team that acts in concert.

11. A further dimension is the impact of technology.  Effectiveness in some organizations would demand a high level of comfort with the latest computer and information technology, while others would tolerate a leader who could neither send nor receive email.

12. Another dimension of leadership is one of geography.  Some interact with virtual teams, while others have their staff all under the same roof. Further complicated by time zones.

13. Another variable is the wide variety of leadership styles used within different organizations to motivate and inspire the frontline.  Jon Katzenbach in his book Peak Performance describes very different approaches used to get high performance from people within.  Five of these he describes:

-Mission, values, and pride.  Immerse everyone in the traditions, the spirit, the core values, and the mission of the organization.  The Marine Corps is a good example.

-Recognition and celebration.  Practice extensive recognition for their people.  Southwest Airlines is a classic example.

-Process metrics.  Many organizations post charts showing productivity and quality metrics.  People are trained to understand them, and the organization’s success are measured and rewarded by performance against these metrics.

-Individual achievement.  Other organizations excel by allowing individuals to accomplish extraordinary things

-Entrepreneurial spirit.  Still another approach is to let people enjoy a huge financial stake in the potential success of the firm.

This is a good example of the complexity of leadership.  All five approaches work well.

14. Who decides those who are good leaders?  We have been unclear regarding who is in the best to evaluate leadership effectiveness.  We have studies showing no correlation between performance appraisals yet the research has shown that subordinates were in the best position to appraise any leader’s effectiveness.

15. Several ‘companions’ of leadership effectiveness have clouded the issue.  For example, all of the following have been shown to have some correlation to leadership effectiveness:

-Intelligence, as measured by IQ scores

-Physical characteristics, such as height

-Emotional or personality characteristics, such as assertiveness and outgoingness

-Biochemical characteristics, such as testosterone levels in men”

Personal comments:

Brief comments on 10, 11, 14, and 15:

The key to #10 is that the leader surrounds themselves with competent, motivated individuals fully supporting mission, vision, goals and strategies.  Another key element is that those, the leader chooses, be cautioned against back-biting (example, demeaning others in the group).  Not working as a team member eliminates that individual from the group.

My experience with #11 is that a leader who can’t do basic tasks is not tolerated for long.  That person should be coached to be able to perform at least at a minimum level. Then maybe, dependent on others for more complex task work.  Leaders should not be given a pass concerning ignorance on simple tasks at the expense of other employees’ responsibilities, and tasks.  It’s demeaning.

#14 requires significant training for subordinates if they are expected to appraise their bosses performance.  This process is full of land mines which, if not dealt with (explanation and training), will lead to incalculable results, some of which may destroy a potentially successful leader.

Next: The Extraordinary Leader

Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

The Complexity Of Defining And Describing Leadership Or Why The Mystery Exists, Part 3

Author: maxbinkley

Creator of Leadership to the Max My experience in the military helped set the career path for me in human resources. After the military I worked for The Dow Chemical Company and left there in 1993 to venture out on my own. I purchased a small business, then a franchise then started another business in semi-retirement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *