Friday, July 2

Developing Leadership: Performance Beats Persuasion

As consumer confidence cratered in June, the question that seems to be resurfacing over and over again is "where is the leadership?" The easiest answer?

We don't have enough leaders. According to one new study, only one-third of companies offer formal HR leadership development programs. And of those that do, there are no guarantees that what these companies are lacking are adequate leadership skills. Even at a company like Time Warner, the advice seems much more like employee manipulation than motivation.

Have We Forgotten Leadership Requires More Than The Art of Persuasion?

Persuasive figures play games with their followings. They push subjective ideas, obscure facts, and promote their own interests. They also make demands while denying anyone's attempt to hold them responsible or accountable.

If their ideas work, they leap for the spotlight. But when their ideas don't work, they immediately suggest the failings must belong to someone else. In the public sector, it comes across as claiming to be ready to move forward but assigning the responsibility of moving forward to those who aren't in a position of leadership. In the private sector, the same holds true.

Persuasive figures tend to be more obsessed with the "failings" of their employees or other departments than any other factor. If only the other guys, they say, would have done their job...

Effective leaders operate from a different vantage point, without ever making the story about them. Instead, they look for objectivity and truth, taking responsibility for their actions and winning the hearts of any following. As their plans succeed, more employees or people become motivated by the success of the group. And even if the plans don't succeed, they immediately begin to look for other solutions. They don't have time to find fault. They are too busy focused on the goal.

Consumer Confidence Is Shaken For Lack Of Leadership.

While the tone of the nation might be set by the public sector, many private sector companies have not been quick to lead either. Their excuse might be the regulatory uncertainty, but true leadership doesn't pin the success or failure of an organization on the economic climate.

It seems clear enough to me that any economic growth will be fueled by a handful of private sector companies focused on solutions regardless of the current climate. To do it, companies need to find or nurture leaders who are less focused on being persuasive and more focused on performance.

Related Posts On Leadership.

• Owning Communication: Be Your Own Voice
Creating Success: The Psychology Of Winners And Losers
Changing A Down Economy: It's Psychology

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