Tag Archives: Change Intelligence

Leadership Distilled -part III

In our earlier posts we have looked at Barbara’s CQ model, Gallup’s leadership domains and Michigan Model of Leadership to arrive at four main functions/ traits of a good leader.  These are elaborated below:

  1. Hand / Executing themes/ Task focus
  2. Heart/ Relationship building themes/People focus
  3. Head/ Strategic thinking themes/ Strategic focus
  4. Voice/ Influencing themes/ Cultural focus

It always heartens me when I see multiple streams of research converging and coming to the same conclusions.

MMoL

Its instructive to note that as per Michigan Model of Leadership (MMoL), the four key behaviors identified are Empathy (people quadrant) , Drive (results or task quadrant), Courage (culture of innovation quadrant) and Integrity (strategic structures quadrant) . These are theorized to lead to good leadership behavior.

Now, if proof was needed, a study by KRW International, a leadership consultancy, that looked at four character traits of leaders, found overwhelming support for the effectiveness of those traits in identifying good leaders.

KRW, looked at four universal character traits that they identified from anthropological data.  These were Integrity (mapping to integrity in MMoL or strategic focus), Responsibility (drive in MMoL or task focus), Forgiveness(Courage in MMoL {imho you require courage to forgive especially if you want to  encourage innovation in this quadrant} or culture focus), and Compassion (empathy in MMoL or people focus).

What they found was striking- those top 10 executives who were high in these traits or were virtuoso’s , their firms were giving 5 time the return on assets than the firms of CEO’s who were in bottom 10 on these traits and were self-focused.

The details about these results are covered in HBR and Fast Company.

To quote:

According to KRW International, a leadership consultancy, CEOs whose characters were highly rated by employees had an average return on assets of 9.35% over a two-year period, almost five times as much as CEOs with low scores whose return on assets averaged just 1.93%.

To me this is converging evidence of the power of the hands, heart, head and voice metaphor of effective leadership and this study is proof enough of the sound business logic behind hiring such leaders or promoting such behaviors.

 

Leadership Distilled – part 2

In an earlier post I had elaborated on the CQ model and Gallup’s four buckets of leadership strengths and used that to derive a framework for leadership skills.

To recap,  the four buckets are

  1. Hand / Executing themes
  2. Heart/ Relationship building themes
  3. Head/ Strategic thinking themes
  4. Voice/ Influencing themes

Its also instructive to note that typically having a task focus necessitates trade-offs with having a people focus and these are at loggerheads with each other. If you really want to accomplish a task, you’ll probably not hesitate in brushing against a few team members; similarly if you are too sensitive to people issues, you might not be that able to drive them to accomplish results.

In a similar vein, its easy to see how having a Strategic thinking focus may be at loggerheads with having a Influencing focus. Influence, at most times, is due to creating the right culture in the organization and everyone knows the adversarial relationship of culture to strategy when thinking about leadership (think ‘Culture eats Strategy for breakfast!’).

Leadership is all about making the right trade offs and finding one’s own unique style and strength of operation.

I recently came across Michigan Model of Leadership (MMoL) and it as heartening to note the convergence between it and my earlier formulation derived from Gallup/ CQ. To quote,

Our research shows that the most effective leaders (1) are empathetic and committed to seeing the world through others’ eyes; (2) are driven and routinely stretch to achieve challenging goals; (3) have integrity and are committed to doing the right thing even if it is not the popular thing; and finally (4) are courageous and consider risk and failure to be necessary ingredients for innovation. These values form a strong foundation for action and serve as guideposts for leaders as they work to make a positive difference in the world.

MMoL

Its easy to note there that Empathy maps to Heart, Drive maps to Hands, Integrity to Head and Courage to Voice. Further,

Robust Results (blue) represents the actions that leaders engage in to foster competition, perform under pressure, and deliver short-term results. This archetype is often in direct tension with Collaborative Communities (yellow), which represents the actions involved in building high-quality relationships, empowering people, and cultivating trust and cohesion within teams. In many organisations, competition and an emphasis on short-term performance undermine collaboration and the importance of community. Yet, in other organisations, too much of an emphasis on harmony within the community produces a happy yet under-performing culture where people are unwilling to challenge each other in service of achieving higher performance.

Strategic Structures (red) represents the actions that leaders engage in to establish accountability, ensure reliable processes, and optimize efficiency. This archetype is often in direct contrast with Creative Change (green), which represents the actions required to enable change, inspire innovation and co-create new opportunities. In many organisations, an over-emphasis on structure and process can root out innovation, but at the same time, too much emphasis on innovation and change can produce inefficiencies or even organisational chaos that keeps the organisation from implementing new ideas.

Thus, Combining all the evidence above, I propose the following schemata:

  1. Hands/ Task Focus- a focus on results and action; Behavioral in nature as per ABCD model of Psychology.
  2. Heart / People Focus – a focus on collaboration and relationships-  Affect or emotion driven as per ABCD
  3. Head/ Strategic Focus – a focus on structure and thinking – Cognitive as per ABCD
  4. Voice/ Cultural Focus- a focus on creativity/ engagement and influence- Dynamics/ motivational in focus as per ABCD.

Its also easy for me to see how a leader progresses in his journey towards greater impact by focusing on different focuses at each subsequent level of leadership. impact.

For example, a someone who is a good supervisor/ boss is predominantly at a Hands focus- focused on getting things done; a good manager on the other hand is really focused on his people- identifying their strengths and making them flourish in their roles; an executive however is more focused on getting the vision and strategy for the organization right; while a good leader IMHO is focused most intently on creating the right culture- everything else them follows.

Do let me know if this resonates with you and do contemplate whether you are at the level of a boss, manager, executive or a real leader!

Leadership Distilled

Leadership (Nigeria)

Leadership (Nigeria) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditionally two main functions or orientations of leaders have been task-orientation and people-orientation and even different large scale neural networks in the brain have been hypothesized to underlie these different focuses.

However if one takes a more closer look at the roles and responsibilities of a leader, they tend to fall into four distinct buckets.

The first bucket is related to what Gallup calls as strengths and talents in the  Strategic Thinking domain.  An apt metaphor for the same, as per Barbara’s Change Intelligence (CQ) model is Head. These abilities are intellectual and startegic in nature, concerned with understanding and shaping  the future and with defining a  vision that can inspire self and others. In transformational leadership context this would be the ability to create and define a vision. This too is task like in nature but more involves complex systemic thinking too rather than immediate task focus.

The second bucket of abilities lies in what Gallup calls the Influencing themes or domain. An apt metaphor, that I have come up for the same is Voice/Mouth. These abilities are the ability to inspire and motivate people, to influence large groups even though one may not have a direct control over them.  In transformational leadership context this would be an ability to motivate and inspire people to achieve that vision. This is similar to being centered on people, but is a different flavor as the emphasis is on not just connecting with people one-on-one, but to move and influence people and large collectives.

The third bucket of abilities are what Gallup calls Executing themes and talents. An apt metaphor, derived from CQ framework is that of Hand. These abilities include the ability to roll up the sleeves and lead from the front. In transformational leadership context, this includes delivering on the vision and managing the myriad problems that may come en route. This is the traditional task or production focus.

The fourth bucket of abilities are what Gallup calls Relationship building themes. An apt metaphor, derived again from CQ model is that of Heart. These abilities enable deep connection and concern with the team members and peers. In transformational leadership context, this includes the ability to coach and build a team to achieve the compelling vision. These are indeed the typical people abilities.

Its important to find out what your signature strengths are and to leverage them fully to achieve in all four domains.  Its also important to remember that strengths in any one domain can be used to achieve outcomes in any other domain, if used properly and intentionally (and which is where caches come handy).

Also remember, that much of leadership is situational:  there is a time to tell (head/vision) , a time to sell (voice/inspire) , a time to participate (hand/ execute) , and a time to delegate (heart/ trusting the team). Know your strengths and also the assess the situational needs to tailor your responses accordingly.

Everyone has a Head, a Voice, a Hand and a Heart- some may be more driven by Heart than by Head but a good leader knows what his unique strengths are and leverages them for the benefit and optimal functioning of the group.