Peoplogica’s Formula For Leadership Success

Leadership is one of the most pressing topics of any organisation, and one of the components you must get right if you are to have a high-performing, engaged and profitable business.

Research from Gallup indicates that 24 per cent of employees are actively disengaged because of poor leadership, which then leads to reduced productivity, reduced profitability and increased employee turnover[1].

But get it right, and you will boost decision-making quality, innovation and creativity, employee engagement and overall productivity.

The eternal question remains – how does one define a great leader? And more importantly, what traits should a company look for to ensure they hire, develop and retain these leaders?

Peoplogica have been involved in leadership recruitment, development and training for about 20 years and through people analytics and experience, we have discovered a few key trait levels to be consistent indicators of leadership success.

We base this formula on the traits used in the Australian-normed Profiles International assessments. While it is not a failproof or ‘magic’ formula, we have certainly found those candidates/employees who possess these trait levels will be more likely to succeed and be a ‘natural’ in leadership roles vs those who don’t, who will often need concerted training to reach the same success.

We believe in assisting our reader base wherever possible, and so for your benefit, this formula is listed below:

  1. Higher Assertiveness. Individuals with higher levels of assertiveness are generally far more comfortable having difficult conversations in a timely manner, are naturally inclined to direct others and are confident in speaking up and providing input. As a result, they will be proactive in addressing issues, in holding team members accountable, in resolving conflicts, and will be confident leaders who back themselves.

  2. Lower Accommodation. Less accommodating individuals may not always be popular, in fact, they can sometimes be like a dog with a bone, but they ensure that they and their direct reports actively hit deadlines and are accountable for their actions. They are firm negotiators and will not back down in the face of opposition. They will set a goal and meet it, and while they are happy to give their team some leeway, they can set clear boundaries and expectations when they are not seeing results.

  3. Lower Manageability. Individuals who are lower in manageability will naturally think outside the box and ask “Is there a better way?”. They take a flexible approach to getting work done and will often be highly innovative and creative. They do not use a cookie-cutter approach. This translates into driving organisational and team improvements and being comfortable taking the lead in ambiguous and difficult situations.

  4. Higher Independence. Leadership roles offer less guidance and structure than entry and mid-level roles, mainly because no manager is looking over their shoulder anymore. Leaders are expected to back their own decisions and judgment, not just always going with the majority. Highly independent leaders will be more comfortable with a lack of guidance from above as they naturally prefer having the latitude to create and pursue goals their way.

  5. Higher Objective Judgment. Leadership roles require high-quality decision making and a leader with naturally higher objective judgment will almost always rely on facts and data when making decisions, not intuition, gut feel and emotions. Emphasising the latter can and often does result in making emotionally driven decisions under pressure and therefore making judgment calls too quickly.

While we consider these to be ‘natural’ leadership traits, we estimate that only about 10% of managers in leadership positions possess this exact combination. Even if someone has none of the above trait levels, it does not mean that they cannot become a great leader, but they will have to work harder so that they can more easily flex their behaviours; especially when under pressure.

What it does indicate is they would require more leadership training, guidance and feedback to reach the same level of capability as someone who naturally possesses these trait levels.

Assessing prospective and existing leaders against this framework identifies their strengths (where they meet the framework) and development areas to focus on for training (where they don’t). This promotes more targeted and therefore successful leadership training, rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach which provides differential outcomes.

We also recognise this trait combination may not be appropriate for all environments. For example, there may be leadership roles that require a very high service ethic to be successful, and as a result, you would want a more accommodating leader. Likewise, you may have a leadership role where you don’t want someone who is too assertive, as it may come across as being overly aggressive to team members.

Therefore, we will always conduct role benchmarking of leadership roles whenever we are engaged in executive recruitment or development, to ensure we have an objective and defined insight into what is required for leadership success.

In saying that, we will find that in most cases, the above trait levels will come up in the benchmark!

We would be interested to hear your thoughts on the above formula for leadership success. Do you recognise these traits in your top-performing leaders? Do you have a different formula that bears some similarity? Alternatively, would you like to explore how this success formula could be applied within your organisation?

Please feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to discuss further.

[1] https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/characteristics-of-an-effective-leader

Written by Peoplogica

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