Part 3: What Will My 12 Leadership Ratios Be?

by Sam on August 30, 2011

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing; others judge us by what we have done. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As you continue through these twelve choices of emphasis that have profound impact on the outcomes of your leadership, remember the words of Longfellow. The behavior that you believe you can show (or do show) doesn’t matter. What matters is what followers see you doing. This, and only this, is what influences them. For the ratios described this week, what are your followers seeing, and therefore saying, about you?

Previously we covered 1-6. Look next week for the final three.

1. Internal vs. External

2. Control vs. Trust

3. Process vs. Product

4. Strong vs. Facilitative

5. Failure Focus vs. Success Spotlight

6. Stars vs. Team

7. Critical vs. Supportive. Most members of your team have strengths to be leveraged and weaknesses to be overcome. Which is your default developmental strategy? Are you a critical leader who believes that employees are only as good as their weakest quality and that their best growth opportunity is to eradicate that shortcoming? Your approach may not be demeaning; in fact it may be quite considerate and constructive. Yet, you’re clearly on a negative path of searching for bad behavior that needs to be made good. Conversely, are you a supportive leader? If so, you believe that employees are as good as their most outstanding qualities. You look for ways to strengthen those positive qualities and build on strengths. Your belief is that the stronger people can become overall, the more their limitations become overwhelmed by and even diminished by their expanding assets.

“Deep” Insight: In a given week, the greatest leaders are likely to be both critical and supportive. But if your C/S ratio consistently averages more than 20/80 you need either to reform your approach to people or bring in new team members who require less criticism.

8. Doing vs. Leading. How much time does your position call upon you to serve customers, make product, and shape process? This is the doing part of your responsibility. When you are doing you can also be leading in the sense that you set an example for others regarding best practices for customers, product, and process. But there’s much more to leading than setting an example. When you lead, you are actively connecting with people and building relationships with them in order to increase their engagement with the goals and priorities of your unit.

“Deep” Insight: As the priority of cost containment becomes more prominent in businesses, managers more often find themselves being pulled further and further away from leadership in the direction of rolling up their sleeves. Another “doing” factor that comes at the expense of leadership is the inordinate travel that global companies force on their executives. Is this happening to you? If so, is there any way that you can either reverse the trend or increase the impact of the face time you do have with your people?

9. Achievable vs. Improbable. Can your people reach the goals that have been set for them or have you given them “stretch” goals that are not likely to be attained. The rationale behind achievable goals is to give your folks an opportunity to gain personal satisfaction by reaching a desired outcome and perhaps going beyond it. The philosophy behind the setting of improbable goals is that standards that are too easy to realize might breed complacency. Unreachable goals could ensure that they exert every possible ounce of energy and brainpower and leave no stone unturned on the path toward excellence.

“Deep” Insight: A case can be made for both sides of this versus. Goals that are too easily achievable are not goals at all, but unachievable goals can frustrate. The first thing great leaders do is involve as many people as possible in the setting of goals, especially those expected to achieve them. Next, they ensure that the goals that are approved are neither too easily achievable nor hopelessly improbable.

Next Week

10. Results vs. Visionary

11. Competence vs. Compliance

12. Permission vs. Forgiveness

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