INVITE YOU TO TAKE A MOMENT TO THINK ABOUT A GREAT LEADER THAT YOU KNOW. THIS MAY BE SOMEONE YOU WORKED WITH IN THE PAST; OR, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, SOMEONE YOU WORK WITH NOW
With that person in my mind, I bet I can predict two things about that leader..
First, that great leader led a team that delivered great results. Frankly, if the leader didn’t deliver great results, you probably wouldn’t have assigned the title ‘great’..
Second, your great leader did things differently than other less than great, let’s call them mediocre, leaders. Maybe the great leader asked better questions, focused attention on more important activities or goals, and interacted in different ways with people, projects, and processes when compared to mediocre leaders..
These two predictions about your great leader make good sense. You would not have called the leader great if great results were not delivered, and you probably saw that leader do different things in different ways which contributed to the great outcomes..
ALL TOO OFTEN, WHEN ASPIRING TO BE A GREAT LEADER, WE STOP WITH THE FIRST TWO DIFFERENTIATORS. WE ASK OURSELVES:
- What do great results look like?
- Who is delivering those results?
- What do those leaders do?
The answers to these questions are compiled into a list of great leader behaviors or competencies. We then embark on a journey to replicate those behaviors and competencies in others and ourselves. To a certain degree, this will work. Get more mediocre leaders to imitate the great ones and, sure enough, the results will improve—at least in the short-term.