This week we have been looking at how leaders rank important leadership traits and how their staff rank important leadership traits. Our motive for this was to explore potential gaps in those perceptions. Let’s recap the findings from the last couple of days. Leaders believe that top leadership traits are;
It would appear on the face of things that there is a good degree of overlap. Things like vision or direction, communication and results focus are found in both sets of rankings. Others overlap too except that you have to dig a bit deeper to see the connection. For example, integrity can be manifested as “doing what you say you are going to do.” This may overlap with empowering the team with regard to thing like letting them tackle their own problems. Many leaders talk about making allowances for trial and error but integrity would ensure the team feels safe to do so.
So is there a gap? Possibly but let me take a different approach to this. It may well be that what we have found in this short study is a difference of perspective. Same goals, different outlook. The leader looks at their role in terms of mapping out where the team needs to go and directions to get there. The team looks at their role in terms of what needs to happen in order to make that plan work.
Outward & Inward
A leader says; “I have this Ferrari and I need to drive it to California.” The team is the Ferrari and they say “great let’s make sure there is gas in the tank, the oil is changed, batteries charged and everything is tuned up.” Both are going to California (goal) and the leader points the car in the right direction but they also need to make sure the car has what it needs to get there. Perhaps it is that many leaders set the goals (outward) without making allowances for the maintenance of the car (inward). How many times have leaders driven hard toward a goal only to have the team evaporate around them because they were not maintained?
My conclusion is that leaders need to walk a fine balance between this outward and inward focus in terms of setting and pursuing of goals and making sure they are providing the proper input and care to the team. Remember, 50% of people who leave a company do so to get away from a bad boss! How are you making sure your team stays tuned up? Performance Leadership – Think About It!