Where Are We Going and How Am I Doing?

When assessing leadership effectiveness, one of the tools I turn to most frequently is the LEA 360 published by Management Research Group (MRG).

This Leadership Effectiveness Analysis profiles 22 leadership practices or behaviors in six critical leadership categories: Creating a Vision, Developing Followership, Implementing the Vision, Following Through, Achieving Results and Team Playing.

Out of all of the behaviors I discuss with my clients, two seem to resonate most frequently: Strategy (Creating a Vision) and Feedback (Following Through).

Not surprisingly, what individuals want most from their leaders are answers to two questions:

  1. Where Are We Going?
  2. How Am I Doing?

Answering the first question requires a leader to be clear about where the team or organization needs to head, and also to be able to articulate that vision, or future state, in a way that compels followership.

Leaders who develop their ability to be more strategic are well positioned to answer this first question.

Answering the second question requires a leader to be willing to provide frequent and direct feedback to colleagues in support of continuous improvement, and to align the activities of individual team members with the priorities of the organization.

Leaders who understand how to give feedback in a way that neutralizes the defensiveness that usually accompanies the receipt of feedback, and bring courage to these feedback conversations with others are well positioned to answer the second question.

While there are many other important behaviors that help increase the impact of individual leaders, honing our abilities to be strategic and to provide feedback pay disproportionate dividends when it comes to being an effective leader.