“The conceptual model we propose is rather simple, and involves five elements, which we will compare to the poles in a tent.
Our empirical factor analysis of huge amounts of data collected on leaders’ competencies reveals that all vital and differentiating leadership competencies can be grouped into five clusters.
1. Character, the pole at the center of the tent.
There is a huge body of writing on this subject. Indeed, some writers and researchers have argued that leadership is totally about character or integrity. We do not share that view, but we do agree that personal character is the core of all leadership effectiveness. We strongly concur that the ethical standards, integrity, and authenticity of the leader are extremely important. With a strong personal character the leader is never afraid to be open and transparent. In fact, the more people can see inside, the more highly regarded the leader will be. Without that personal character, on the other hand, leaders are forever in danger of being discovered. They are like a Hollywood set that from one side looks attractive, but after walking around it, the illusion is dispelled and the hollowness is obvious.
2. Personal Capability
On one side of the tent floor is the pole of personal capability. This describes the intellectual, emotional, and skill makeup of the individual. It includes analytical and problem-solving capabilities, along with the technical competence the person possesses. It requires an ability to create a clear vision and sense of purpose for the organization. Great leaders need a strong collection of these personal capabilities. Leadership cannot be delegated to others. The leader must be emotionally resilient, trust others and be self-confident enough to run effective meetings and speak in public.
3. Focus on Results
The third tent pole of leadership represents the behaviors that can broadly be described as ‘focusing on results.’ It describes the ability to have an impact on the organization. It means being capable of getting things accomplished. Leaders may be wonderful human beings, but if they don’t produce sustained, balanced result they simply are not good leaders. We will later examine the interplay of these three elements as a powerful predictor of leadership effectiveness.”
My “huge body of personal experience” does confirm personal character is the core of leadership effectiveness. I also confirm that ethical standards, integrity, and authenticity of the leader are extremely important, but sadly lacking. Most I knew were also afraid to be open and transparent, choosing to be a Hollywood set in fear of discovery.
I am disturbed by the obvious/apparent lack of competencies in those who would like to be called leaders, but fail, as demonstrated by employees low morale, poor work ethic, and poor communication skills. These failures don’t belong at the feet of employees, but at the feet of management, at all levels.
Authors quote on trust is misleading. Leaders cannot trust others who do not demonstrate it. If the leader isn’t diligent, and cannot tell the difference they will go over the waterfall, and then wonder why?
Next: The Extraordinary Leader
Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
THE LEADERSHIP TENT—A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK, Part Two