We can easily recognize poor leadership behaviors in others. Meetings that are led inefficiently and are ineffective. Performance management that is punitive rather than empowering. Transactional conversations that jeopardize trust rather than build it. Actions, like being late or not listening, that communicate to others that you don’t respect their time or point of view.
Oh yeah. Pointing the finger up the ladder and around to peers is simple and I would dare say – prepare yourself – lazy. What’s much harder is to look at are our own actions and determine what we can do to be better leaders. After all, the only thing you really have control over is you. Identifying who we need to be and what we need to do to get better outcomes is one thing, actually changing the behavior is a whole other ballgame.
I hate to break the news to you if you haven’t figured this out already, but you can’t fix everything about yourself. You can make big improvements over time, but a complete personal demolition and rebuild will take a lifetime and usually isn’t necessary. Small, incremental pivots in your behavior can net huge returns. No matter how hard you work at being the best leader you possibly can, no matter how much time and effort and money you put into it, you will fall short of perfection – not only in your own eyes but also in others.
Nope. The art and science of great leadership is a constant focus on small pivots that you maintain over time that will lead to consistently achieving better results. It’s what Carol Dweck in her book says is a growth mindset.
So what do you work on first? McKinsey and Company did some research that I thought was a big help to answering that question. Out of 20 behaviors that create solid results in leaders, there were 4 that they determined give a leader 89% of the positive outcomes they experience. That sure does help narrow things to focus on down a bit, right?
What was interesting in the research that we did at Cortex, regarding those 4 behaviors was that they tied in nicely to the DISC profiles of those that we coach. This knowledge can help you focus your efforts quickly on what will be noticed by others and get you solid results. If you are already someone who has spent a career focusing on one of the behaviors because that one comes naturally for you, then you can probably assume that the one that is opposite of that is the first behavior to start with.
I will warn you now, though, our research also indicated that if you are someone who is great at one of the behaviors already you probably will want to lean in and get better at that one. This is not like the philosophy of focusing on your strengths. Yes, you want to continue to do what you are naturally gifted at, but the McKinsey research states clearly that you need, as a leader, to focus on being strong in each of these 4 areas to reach the peak performance outcomes your organization wants from you and that will make you invaluable in the workplace.
Which one should you focus on first to become more valuable to your organization and others? If you’re willing to spend about an hour of your time taking a couple of self-assessments and reading a few pages of material, you can determine the answer to that question pretty quickly.
We are creating an opportunity for anyone who gets this newsletter, and those that watch our segments on WFXR to download the quick guide to better leadership, 4 Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors for FREE during the next month.
You can CLICK HERE for your free download.
Become more valuable by following these 3 steps:
1. Download the free ebook
2. Pick one of the behaviors, from the short book, that you can quickly identify as something that you need to focus on to get those peak performance results you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to be a better problem solver, you will need to learn the skill of strategic thinking that I discussed in last week’s article. If you want to be more supportive, you will need to build your active listening skills (we’ll talk about how to do that next week). Having the behavior of getting results is becoming better at setting goals and being tenacious at reaching them. Finally, if you aren’t skilled at seeking others perspectives you are going to need to take a hard look at who you trust for advice now and on what subjects. Do you have experts in key areas that you are working on that you have a strong enough relationship with to receive new perspectives on initiatives that are not moving forward on?
3. Pick ONE SIMPLE ACTION this week that will move you towards building that skill.