Developing Good Leadership

There has been much written on the subject of leadership over the years; authors include well-recognised captains of industry, military personnel and leading training professionals amongst others. At the heart of everything they write, is the desire to help and inspire others to be better leaders and to be able to learn from the articles published.

Like many before me, having bought several of these books and read many online articles; I wonder if I am achieving the same level of success in my leadership as the authors have demonstrated. Clearly I want to, I would not buy the books if I didn’t believe that I would learn from reading them, but is this increase in awareness and additional information the key to my improvement?

I was thinking earlier today, if I read about Jack Welch “CEO of the Century” and I understand both the leadership messages and use the specific examples to inform me of techniques used; will I become a version of Jack Welch? Clearly the answer is ‘no’. Certainly, the new or additional information I have as a consequence of reading will not hurt and will in some way improve my chances of replicating his successes, but I feel there is a lot more to it than that.

The other day I was facilitating a 360 deg feedback for a manager in an organisation with which we are currently working. They were really engaged in the process and keen to identify how they could improve. What was interesting (and frequently is) was the manager’s areas of interest in the feedback; mainly concerned with the doing and achieving in the present job role. I have found this occurs frequently; managers keen to get on and improve their management ability but believing that it is about what you know about a job and techniques that is important and the probable source of their development need.

Let’s look for a moment at a potential succession planning route in an organisation. An individual joins the organisation and does a good job, that often means their work rate is very acceptable, they demonstrate good knowledge of the job and they have a ‘can do’ attitude. They achieve a promotion, perhaps to a supervisory or managerial position. As well as being part of the team doing the task, they now have responsibility to achieve team targets and objectives. The required skill set is already starting to change. What they know is important, but their ability in other areas is more important to their success. What influences their ability?

Is it that people focus on using the knowledge skill set of the job as a manager, the how I would do it or have done it in the past as a way of informing them as to others should do it now. The longer we are ‘off the tools’ so-to-speak, the less relevant our knowledge becomes. It appears that many managers driven by the desire to do well and achieve, are both promoted because of how well they did in ‘the execution of a job themselves’ and also because of the belief within the organisation, ‘if they could have more of the same’ i.e. more people like the promoted person; the organisation will flourish even more! Yet how is this achieved?

By the identification and development of leaders?

We may, on our leadership journey be acquiring further techniques and models learnt from others, read from books or from the provision of leadership and management development training. What may be at least equally important if not more so, is the becoming aware of our own values and beliefs towards others: the very components that create our attitude. Is it the right attitude? And is it resonant with the attitudes we recognise in successful leaders?

Could it be that leadership success is more attributable to attitude than knowledge, that a common factor found in truly great leaders is a willingness to find solutions and a desire to establish and maintain quality relationships in the process of doing so? If this is the case, is it also more important to model their beliefs and values as well as the techniques they use in order to replicate their success?

If you are interested in how to model success in your organisation, including values and beliefs, we have the ultimate modelling course later this year.

Dr Wyatt Woodsmall PhD will be delivering an Advanced Behavioural Modelling workshop with Reveal Solutions here in Gloucester 13-16th Sept 2012 BOOK NOW