Leadership and Motivation

March 6, 2011

Leadership is the art of influencing behaviors towards a common goal.

Leadership Overview

There are many different thoughts and extraordinarily wide range of definitions when people describe the term ‘Leadership’, but at its grassroots, it is a management skill and ability to influence the behaviors of a group of people toward a common goal.  The ‘goals’ and ‘leaders’ will differ at all levels of an organization, from Corporate objectives to departmental targets and C-Level Executives down to Supervisors, but everyone must understand and strive toward a common objective to ensure full coordination and greatest level of success.

Results Based Leadership – Connecting Attributes to Results

When it comes to leadership competencies, many academics and industry professionals tend to focus solely on attributes, such as personal integrity, personality, analytical ability, and vision to define a successful leader.  Potential Leaders are assessed on who they are (values, character, motives), what they know (skills, experience, knowledge), and what they do (style, behaviors, decisions).  They often fail to make the connection between these attributes and what truly defines a successful leader, results!  A leader’s job requires more than personal attributes and knowledge, it demands results.  The Results Based Leadership equation makes this connection and evaluates leaders on both attributes and their ability to deliver on predefined goals and objectives.

Leadership = Attributes x Results

Each variable in the equation is multiplicative, they are not cumulative, and propose that Leaders must strive for excellence in displaying specific attributes and obtaining desired results.

Leaders exhibiting ideal attributes but fail to deliver desired results have ideas without substance.  They rely heavily on who they are and how they conduct themselves rather than what they deliver and are not long remembered when they leave an organization.  Conversely, Leaders who deliver results but lack the ideal attributes find their successes short lived.  These Leaders fail to motivate employees and with a results only oriented attitude, their successes often disappear shortly after being implemented.

A Results Based Leader needs to be able to define and measure desired results.  Desired results in any organization should focus on being:

1)      Balanced – one part of the company should not be ignored so that another can thrive.

2)      Lasting – long term success is not sacrificed for short term gains.

3)      Strategic – link to the firm’s strategy and strengthen its competitive position.

4)      Selfless – work to benefit the organization as a whole, not single areas or functions.

Additionally, there are four areas of an organization that a successful Leader must deliver results on and consider when outlining the organizations desired results.

  • Employee Results – developing the organizations human capital.
  • Organization Results – creating an environment conducive to innovation and learning.
  • Customer Results – achieving target customer satisfaction and providing services and goods that they value.
  • Investor Results – Maximizing resources, reducing costs, increasing returns, growth.

Different industries and lines of businesses will force organizations to shift the balance amongst Management, but inevitably, all four areas must balance in order for the company to succeed.  For example, if an Executive fails to deliver on employee results, the organization will have a hard time attracting and retaining talent, leading to organizational, customer, and inevitably investor results issues.

Conclusion

Many Leaders fail in their attempt to create a truly balanced results oriented organization.  It becomes the Senior Leaders’ ability to shift priorities and identify the necessary desired results that ultimately defines their long term success.  A results based approach from the top down helps a Leader cascade this mindset and approach down to all levels of Management throughout the organization.