How individuals approach leadership is strongly influenced by their definition of and beliefs about leadership. Researchers have defined leadership more than 100 different ways. Companies define leadership differently too: The Container Store says leadership is communication; Chipotle says it is about confidence. Even though there is not one single definition for leadership, researchers and successful companies (such as those on the Great Place to Work list) have identified the knowledge, skills, values, behaviors, and actions that successful leaders possess.
In examining what hundreds of studies have said about what constitutes good leadership, what companies known for developing leaders do to train their people, and what managers say are the more challenging tasks they face, the following emerged: Good leaders have impact because of who they are, how they succeed through others, and what they know about solving problems. They grow companies profitably, staying focused on customers. Employees have confidence in them because they are effective.
Specifically, leaders are:
- Role models, keeping themselves energized and committed, personifying integrity, courage, and values, inspiring trust in team members, followers, and upper management.
- Team builders who succeed through other individuals and teams, and effective two-way communicators who resolve conflict, show care, and act appropriately for the situation, inspiring cooperation, confidence and optimism.
- Problem solvers, making competent decisions dealing with everyday events and providing intellectual stimulation to others. The decisions leaders make every day define who they are.
- Direction setters, generating profit and growing the business, envisioning change and embracing calculated risk taking, leading the way with an entrepreneurial spirit while budgeting and prioritizing effectively.
- Customer champions, focused on serving customers’ needs, thinking and acting win-win for their organization and its customers.
- Structure creators, organizing people, projects, tasks, and resources for optimal coordination and flow, opening communication, and generating alignment.
- Position skilled, competent and knowledgeable in the role they hold in the company.
The Leadership Competence Indicator is a tool to help managers reflect on how their affect and behavior compare to their peers, how they see themselves as a leader, how others see them as a leader, and what actions they can take to improve their leadership competence.
The LCI consists of three parts:
- The Affective Decision Making Profile (ADMP) is a valid and standardized tool that informs managers how emotions and moods impact their decisions in situations typical to their jobs, and how they can best use their personality strengths to manage their emotional reactions to situations typically encountered by managers.
- The Transformational and Customer Leadership 360 report compares how individuals sees themselves as a leader with how others in the organization view them.
- The Development Guide concluding each report is intended to help individuals and coaches focus development actions for improving leadership competence.
You can learn more about the LCI and related assessment and development tools here.