Archive for October, 2010

Leaders- Born or Made?

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

A longtime friend, onetime boss and successful senior executive recently asked my opinion about this age old question. Following is my reply to him.

I have spent the last several years coaching executives to enhance their leadership capability and have also done quite a bit of reading and writing on the subject. I have evaluated the skills of executives that I have coached and found that those who get promoted are strong in three areas:

1.       Results orientation (73% are strong here)

2.       Relational Skills (45% are strong here)

3.       Intellectual Skills (36% are strong here)

Interestingly, leadership is cited as a strength only 11% of the time…and this is for senior executives who get promoted! So if an individual’s intention is to become a senior leader (and therefore assume critical leadership responsibility) the best thing to “lead for” (by far) is results. In this regard, I believe that everyone has a great capacity to improve because of the tried and true processes that one can put in place to achieve results.

A broader measure of leadership, say the ability to inspire, engage, align and motivate others to see and opportunities they did not see before is augmented by certain skills that some people have more readily as a result of their natural gifting and hard-wiring. Cognitive abilities that support innovation and strategy, and relational skills come to mind. Easier to inspire and motivate if you are a bit of an extrovert; harder for introverts. Easier to see opportunity if you are a balanced reflective and imaginative thinker; harder if you are overly pragmatic. You get the drift.

The bottom line: While some people possess more of the natural gifting to be an inspirational leader, everyone has the potential to improve by leveraging their natural strengths while addressing their opportunity areas. And if a leadership position in  business is what is desired, one thing matters more than all others-getting results.

Leadership Tomorrow

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The timeless adage states that tomorrow never comes, because it is always today. Tomorrow offers endless possibilities, if we could only get our act together today. Sometime we do, but mostly we do not, making it easy to feel discouraged.

Leadership is often looked upon in the same way. There is an idealized image of leadership that tends to take it out of the reach of mere mortals, reserving it for the likes of Alexander the Great and Abraham Lincoln. (more…)