Drowning in research isn’t going to help you develop your strengths.
Great question! Congratulations, you’re asking a question most people in leadership positions never ask. Seems strange, doesn’t it? Most of those people assume they are good leaders without looking for confirmation from anyone, especially their boss or God forbid the people they lead. Unfortunately, most companies don’t require assessments of leadership competencies. If you look at most management job descriptions, you will notice that very few even contain the word leadership! Companies hold leaders accountable for business results and not leadership effectiveness, often not seeing the correlation between the two. Unfortunately, employee engagement, or more likely disengagement, is not something that departmental or divisional leaders are held accountable for either.
You’ve cleared the first hurdle; you’re asking the right question! The next challenge in answering this question is defining “good” leadership. There are so many different ways to characterize effective leadership. What is the best definition of leadership for you? You could use Goleman’s model,Collins, Duprees, Boyatzis, Blanchard, Tichy Bennis, Covey, etc. You get the idea, there are so many good leadership models and frameworks. And then add the number of leadership competencies that exist in the marketplace on top of that. Wow! The research on leadership is so expansive, how will you find your own definition?
It is estimated that there are currently 20,000 books on leadership in print. How many books do you intend on reading to fine-tune your leadership skills? Do you know which strategies are right for you and your company? How many new tactics will you try to implement in your life or with your team? You might argue that all action-inspiring philosophies are equal, but what if one model is better for your skills, company, and team?
Is there only one right model of leadership? No! Is there one golden ticket skill to become a great leader? Perhaps but it’s not going to be learned from a book. Intellectual learning is not going to make you a great leader. The key to becoming a leader is being able to grow and change, not learn new models or read trendy books. Do you need to know what a leader does? Yes!
- What is your definition of leadership?
- What have you learned, heard or seen that has influenced your view of great leadership?