jim collins

Leadership- Competence and Connectivity

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Much has been written on the true qualities of leadership and very often it boils down to what many term as the careful balance of “hard” and “soft” skills.  Jim Collins compares humility and resolve, Ann Cuddy talks about strength and warmth and those in the field of Emotional Intelligence talk about intellectual and emotional capacity.  My preference is to look at leaders in terms of their competence and connectivity.  However you define it, competence is within the individual and the connectivity is about the human dependencies.leadership

So what does connectivity really mean?  Collins version of humility and Cuddy’s findings around warmth are key parts of this.  In essence it’s about a leader’s ability to influence and mobilize other people to achieve the required results in a manner that is engaging and optimizing their full potential; effective leadership requires willing participants.

But how do you measure these?  When somebody is being hired for a leadership position, competence very often carries most weight because it’s easier to assess.  Their resume, track record, experience, etc, forms the basis.  However the pitfall in many instances is that there is a misalignment with past achievements and future requirements.  The classic situation that best illustrates this is the promotion of the best sales person into sales manager.  Clearly a competence based decision where connectivity is often overlooked.

However what is more important is the question of which comes first?  Cuddy in her research work contends that if the leader demonstrates warmth first and backs this up with strength, then that is the optimum.  Stephen Covey in his seven habits paraphrased this as follows – Seek to Understand (connect) and then be Understood (competence).

However you look at it, both are critical.

Employee Engagement & Emotional Intelligence

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Leaders very often get elevated to high positions on the back of proficient technical capacity. However these abilities can be found lacking when you have to lead from the front rather than manage from the rear. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, proposes that Level 5 Leaders must have a blend of professional resolve and personal humility; these are more behavioral traits and indicative of how one must interact with people for optimum results. To be CEO you do not need to have a thorough understanding of every discipline in your business; you need possess the ability to inspire and motivate the people who do. This manifests itself and can now be measured in terms of effective employee engagement. Read more

Emotionally Intelligent Coaches and Great Leaders

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Jim Collins in his book Good to Great characterized the top leaders as those who possessed Professional Resolve and Personal Humility. During the course of his research into what were the foundational pillars behind truly successful organizations, he found this absolute consistency throughout all the various leaders. But in real terms what does this resolve and humility translate to in terms of skills and behavior. The answer lies in Coaching and Emotionally Intelligence.

Coaching can be divided into two sets of skills. The Inner Skills are characterized by connecting with other people through listening, questioning, acknowledging, validating, empathizing, etc. It is truly about the other person and making them the key focus; this is consistent with Personal Humility. The Outer Skills focus very much on goals, actions, solution finding, accountability, etc., all with a drive towards a positive outcome. Possessing a determination towards achieving results at work aligns with Professional Resolve. Read more