“4. Interpersonal Skills
The fourth tent pole of leadership puts into one cluster all of the interpersonal or people skills. There is an enormous body of evidence that says leadership is expressed through the communication process and is the impact that one person (the leader) has on a group of other people. It is the direct expression of the character of the individual and is often the window by which people understand the personal character of the leader. (Note, however, that leadership does not equal any one competency. It is expressed in a result. Yes the competency is the tool or the manners in which that result are obtained. As such, it is worthy of understanding, but a competency is never an outcome, and leadership is ultimately about outcomes.) We have arbitrarily separated the leader’s impact on the people from the leader’s ability to obtain good results in other arenas, such as financial outcomes, productivity improvement, enhanced customer relations, or greater organizational capability.
5. Leading Organizational Change
Fifth, as noted earlier, another expression of leadership comes in the ability to produce change within an organization. The highest expression of leadership involves change. Caretaker managers can keep things going on a steady path, but leaders are demanded if the organization is to pursue a new path or rise to a significantly higher level of performance.
A key point here is that for many leadership roles, the first four ten poles may be all that are required. It is not until a person gets into leading broad, strategic change that the final tent pole is required.”
Here is what I wrote about communication back in 2011:
“This topic is second only to trust in importance for leaders. Why? Communication increases knowledge, builds confidence, trust, commitment, and increases productivity. It creates meaning. It’s the only way groups can become aligned behind vision, mission and goals. Yet it typically shows up on surveys as “Needs Improvement.”
We don’t communicate well with each other (which is no surprise), and there are many reasons why. Our ability to communicate is affected by our styles, tone, body language, filters, barriers, and our inability to listen. Filters and barriers include ego, perceptions, assumptions, language, status, education, history, stereotypes, and jargon. The result is that communication can stop, or be severely limited.
Dr. Jack Gibb in his book, “Trust, a New View of Personal and Organizational Development,” lists six behaviors that stop communication. They are judging, superiority, certainty, controlling, manipulation, and indifference. It’s not that we deliberately behave this way. It’s often done without thinking. What do they sound like?
-Judging:”You are wrong”
-Superiority:”I’m better, I know more”
-Certainty:”My mind is made up”
-Controlling:”Let me tell you how to do it”
-Manipulation:”If I don’t tell them the whole story I can get them to agree with me” (hidden motives)
-Indifference:”I have better things to do”
‘Since the five tent pole topics are extremely important, next week’s post will review my personal experience related to them.’
Next: The Extraordinary Leader
Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
My personal comments on The Leadership Tent Poles