Bob was a demanding CEO. Revered by many business analysts and peers. He had been successful for a long time. He had many high-powered people who worked for him and held them accountable to deliver results. Many people feared Bob because of the enormous power he held. Most would say they respected him, but few would say that they loved him.
It was his belief and therefore the belief of most of his executives, that if you have reached the top of the organization and have been working for over 20 years, there isn’t a lot you can learn.
You need to execute and deliver results and if you can’t do that, then you would be replaced.
When Bob was asked about his leadership ability he said that he was a good leader, sometimes a great leader but could still do some things better. It was suggested to him that get some feedback and coaching about his leadership effectiveness, however, he replied; “it isn’t a priority for me right now”.
If it isn’t a priority for Bob, do you think it will be a priority for others? Everything cascades down through an organization. If the only time leadership effectiveness is questioned is when a person does not deliver results, the organization will create a cultural belief that leadership effectiveness assessment and development is for the weak leaders who don’t know who to lead. 360-degree assessments and coaches can be perceived for those who are in trouble.
Does Bob understand that great leadership effectiveness has a direct impact on the bottom line and to drive exceptional business results, he could greatly benefit from exceptional leadership? From my own experience, I have seen that developing your leadership ability from good to great is possible. Nearly 100% of the time, if Bob makes developing his leadership a priority, it will be a priority for his team and their teams.
The number one way to develop your leaders is to develop yourself and to let people know it is a priority for the business that they become the best leaders possible.
As Bob thought more about the leadership effectiveness of his team, he realized he had some people who were brilliant technically but didn’t lead people effectively. Some of his team had blind spots and were largely unaware of their lack of people leadership skills. When he reviewed a list of “10 fatal flaws that consistently lead to leadership failure” (From Zenger Folkman), he began to realize that he needed to address the issue:
- Not inspiring due to a lack of energy and enthusiasm
- Accepting mediocre performance in place of excellent results
- Lack of clear vision and direction
- Loss of trust stemming from perceived bad judgment and poor decisions
- Not a collaborative team player
- Not a good role model (failure to walk the talk)
- No self-development and learning from mistakes
- Lacking interpersonal skills
- Resistant to new ideas, thus did not lead change or innovate
- Focus is on self, not the development of others
The end of the story for Bob was that just like all CEO’s and leaders he made a big improvement in his own leadership which cascaded down into the organization like he never expected. He led more effectively and those around him also led more effectively. 2 x 2 = 4, 4 x 2 = 8, 8 x 2 = 16; effective leaders who create more effective leaders transform their organization’s ability to deliver results.
Is it time you address the issue? Are you developing yourself? Do you have a person(s) on your team that is technically brilliant but not leading others effectively? Would it be helpful to have an assessment of their leadership ability (blind spots& strengths) and a plan to develop them?