In the previous blog I discussed five lessons I have learned about leadership. This article is part 2 of a six part series.
Balance is an important skill for leaders. There are many paradoxes in leadership. For example, a leader must understand and follow corporate strategy, while implementing local knowledge and tactics. You must be close to your people and keep an appropriate distance. You must trust your people and follow up on their performance. A leader must maintain a culture of accountability and avoid a culture of fear. You must plan your time and be flexible. A leader must lead and be led. You must be confident and be humble. As leaders we don’t have all of the answers. We must remain coachable.
Develop high EI! Emotional intelligence is the top indicator for an executive’s success. High IQ and technical skills do not translate into success for an executive. Surveys have shown that the higher in an organization that you go, the more important emotional intelligence is. In fact up to 85% of a CEO’s success depends on emotional intelligence. A leader must have high emotional intelligence, especially in the area of self-awareness and emotional expression. Emotional intelligence is understanding and managing yourself while understanding other people and managing your relationships with them. In order to manage yourself and others, you must have self-awareness. This is the ability to accurately assess your abilities and recognize where you need help. An effective coach can point out what the leader cannot, will not or does not see. Strong leaders are also able to control and manage how they communicate with people. They refrain from inappropriate or rash responses when confronted with difficult situations.
Professional growth and development is the second leading indicator of retention. If an employee, including an executive, does not feel like she is growing and developing on the job, she will eventually leave the company. It is critical that a leader recognizes that an employee is responsible for career development and the leader and organization are accountable for providing growth and developmental opportunities.
The primary method of providing these on the job development opportunities is through effective coaching and feedback. The leader must provide ongoing, consistent coaching so the employee understands what is and is not going well. In addition a leader is responsible and accountable for giving honest and direct feedback.
Finally a leader must hold her people accountable for performance. It is not enough to have strong competencies. These competencies must lead to high performance. Ultimately leadership must be results-based. A leader who does not hold her people accountable is shirking her duties.