It has been reasonably well documented that better bosses improve performance.
In the paper ‘The Value of Bosses’, three researchers from Stanford University in the United States (Lazear, Shaw and Stanton) identified that that by replacing a manager who is the lower 10% of ‘boss quality’, with one who is in the upper 10% of boss quality increases a team’s total output by about the same amount as adding 1 worker to a team of 9 people. Consider an organisation employing hundreds or even thousands of people – great bosses will have a massive impact.
But how can an organisation ensure that its bosses and leaders are indeed in the top 10%?
After working with many leaders across a wide range of organisations we have concluded that leadership is analogous to a puzzle, because while great leaders demonstrate a number of common traits, (for example, they are honest and trustworthy, provide clear direction etc) leadership is contextual, in that each leader has to interact with their environment in their own way. Therefore great leaders have become great for different reasons, and not simply by following a text book of leadership theory. Leadership is not simply about being ‘born’ or being ‘made’, it is about personal choice, the choices and decisions that a leader makes in the environment that they operate in. This is a concept that we call Leadership Puzzle.
To help leaders solve their own ‘leadership puzzle’ we enable them to assess themselves against a number of key leadership traits as well as how they interact with their environment. This provides them with the self awareness they need to recognize and understand their strengths and potential weaknesses, the environment that they operate, and what they need to do to be successful. By providing this mirror and appropriate development support and guidance we enable leaders to solve their own Leadership Puzzle that works for them and their organisation.
Creating great leadership in requires time, effort and commitment and it cannot simply be learned from reading leadership texts and theory. Leadership is contextual – what works in one organisation does not necessarily work in another. So there is no magic pill to take or panacea for great leadership, we all have to solve our own Leadership Puzzle – one that works for us as well as our organisation.