I call this the Leadership Acceleration Model, because if you pay attention to these five areas, you'll improve your leadership more quickly, and you'll accelerate your success.
I started developing this model a few years ago, and it's the result of my consulting and coaching work over the years. I looked back over those years searching for patterns in the challenges I was helping clients address. This includes organizations and individuals.
Keep in mind that a "model" is simply a framework for looking at leadership, and making necessary improvements. Without such a framework, we're just flailing around, hoping someday we'll get it right.
The 5 components of the Leadership Acceleration Model are:
- Performance Accountability: Great leaders lead in ways that get people focused on, and taking personal responsibility for, their performance and results.
This means being clear about what you expect in performance, and reviewing performance on at least a monthly basis so that performance review is a process, not an event. It also means being in "teacher mode," helping and encouraging people on how to improve performance.
- Consistency: Employees want to work hard for leaders whose behavior demonstrates consistency and fairness. They seek consistency between what leaders say, what leaders should do, and what they actually do.
Consistency requires straightforwardness about performance expectations and employee behavior, and it shows a willingness, almost eagerness, to confront conflict head on, so that conflict's early resolution (rather than later) eliminates wounds that fester.
Such wounds, left unattended, only grow worse, and breed more conflict, poor performance, and dysfunction.
- Listening/Flexibility: One of the most important leadership skills, and one you should probably exercise more than any other, is listening. Active listening means truly focusing on the other person, and being flexible enough to really hear new ideas and opposing opinions.
This kind of listening and flexibility means we're open and receptive to change. The biggest barrier to listening/flexibility is focusing too much on ourselves.
- Purpose: Your purpose, for yourself, your team, department, or organization is the foundation for your leadership.
A worthwhile purpose must be 1) simple in its clarity (no more than 12 words), and focusing on results not activities; 2) noble in that it is compelling and able to inspire people at least a little; and 3) relentlessly emphasized by you the leader.
How much you focus on the grand or noble purpose influences how engaged and motivated your employees are. If you're focusing on this a lot and tying activities and goals to the organization's purpose your employees will also focus on it.
- Respect for Others: An important leadership principle is, "You get a lot more out of people if you treat them with dignity and respect."
Treating people with respect means treating them as unique individuals; promoting and rewarding teamwork, rather than practicing control and command micromanagement; focusing on people, and seeking their input when appropriate.
There you have it, my model for looking at your own leadership, and the leadership within your organization. How do you rate your leadership in each area? What will you do to improve those areas?