My good friend Bob Lank from CEO Global Network shared his three pillars of personal success in a 60 Seconds on Leadership video I posted last year and that got me thinking about what drives success from a leadership perspective. In case you didn’t get a chance to view the video, Bob’s three pillars are:
- Successful people know themselves (and more importantly the impact they have on others)
- They have clarity of purpose (not necessarily for all time but certainly for the foreseeable future)
- They are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed (they aren’t in the habit of folding up their tent at the first sign of adversity)
I had the opportunity to speak with Lee Ellis (author of Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton) and he made the point that self-aware leaders know whether they are more results or relationship focused. Neither is necessarily better than the other but as a leader you better understand which way you lean so that you are aware of the blind spots that you may be carrying with you. As a leader, how you react to situations has a huge impact on relationships, organizational culture, engagement, innovation, and ultimately ongoing results.
Knowing your own behaviours, and those of your team, in this critical area will allow you to develop a strategy as to how to best approach your own situation. One thing is for certain, this is not a one size fits all scenario. There are lots of tools out there to help a leader take stock of who on the team brings what to the table when it comes to behaviour. I happen to use the McQuaig Talent Assessment System to help my clients better understand team dynamics, optimize efficiencies, and develop the available talent.
Your skills and abilities with respect to relationships impact every element of what you do as a leader. Understanding how socially driven or analytical you are as a leader, what your approach is to making decisions, risk taking , your communication style, how you delegate tasks and authority, and whether you are naturally inclined to act as the coach are just some of the keys to knowing what modifications you have to make when dealing with the different people who are a part of your working life. Of course, that infers that you must also understand their preferences as well. No doubt some of the people on your team like to take charge and do things their way, some may require you to very clearly set your expectations for them, others like it when you challenge them and do well thinking on their feet, while some of their counterparts may prefer some time to think things through before responding. As with results, this isn’t a case of “one size fits all”.
Most great leaders generate results with, and through people. In order to have ongoing, repeatable success a leader has to align his or her team with the strategic plan to generate the results the organization is expecting, know themselves and the impact they have on others and react in ways that don’t exacerbate the situation. Results, relationships, and reaction…the 3 R’s of leadership!