LeadershipTraction frames much of its work in the context of an early/modified version of Justin Menkes’ Executive Intelligence research that we refer to as the 4-Stages of Leadership Competency Growth:
- Stage 1 – Information Management – the ability to identify, gather, analyze, and make use of data needed to improve information flow, process management, problem-solving, and accountability control.
- Stage 2 – Task Management – the ability to achieve results that mitigate unwanted risk, forward stated goals, objectives, and priorities, and minimizes unintended consequences.
- Stage 3 – People Management – the ability to work with, though, and for, others in increasingly respectful, engaging, constructive, and relationship-building ways.
- Stage 4 – Self-Management – the ability to recognize our own impact, take full responsibility for it, and modify our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, appropriately, effectively, and in real-time.
It turns out that there are specific cognitive aptitudes that to a large extent determine whether an executive succeeds or fails.
The most fundamental competency for anyone in any leadership position is INFORMATION MANAGEMENT – that is, the process of Gathering, Differentiating, and Processing Data about What’s Going On. Indeed, accurately defining the work to be done is, literally, Job One. Yet a surprising number of leaders merely react to circumstances without putting information into a broader context. As such, LeadershipTraction helps leaders sharpen their abilities to:
- Know where to look, and who to talk with, in order to stay current with both formal and informal priorities.
- Recognize what is known about an issue, what more needs to be known, and how best to obtain the relevant and accurate information needed.
- Critically examine the accuracy of the underlying assumptions others are basing their conclusions on.
- Appropriately define problems and differentiate essential objectives from less relevant concerns.
- Be more strategic in the information they seek and share with others.
Most leaders are already fairly proficient in this next stage of leadership competency – TASK MANAGEMENT – that is, Getting the WORK Done. Indeed, someone is likely never to even get promoted into a leadership role if they weren’t able to demonstrate a fairly reasonable proficiency as an individual contributor. But the work of a leader requires a different set of task management skills than just that. And a surprising number of even tenured leaders could benefit from sharpening their abilities to:
- Better articulate what does, and does not, need to happen
- Anticipate likely obstacles to achieving objectives and identify sensible means to circumvent them.
- Use multiple perspectives to identify likely unintended consequences of various action-plans.
- Align available resources, or insure that needed resources are made available, to achieve the desired ends.
- Assign, track, and establish accountabilities for work to be done, by whom, and by when.
Many leaders, though, tend to struggle when it comes to the third stage of leadership development – PEOPLE MANAGEMENT – that is, Working With, And Through, Other People. Some try to be their employees’ best friends. Others are afraid to ‘push back’ even on the most egregious behaviors and comments. Still others seemingly can’t help but to annoyingly micromanage. But meaningful improvements typically result from the LeadershipTraction coaching process where leaders learn to more consistently:
- Recognize the conclusions that can and cannot be drawn from a particular exchange.
- Recognize the likely underlying agendas and motivations of individuals and groups that are involved in a situation.
- Anticipate the likely emotional reactions of individuals to actions or communications.
- Accurately identify the core issues and perspectives that are central to a conflict.
- Appropriately consider the probable effects and likely unintended consequences that may result from taking a particular course of action.
- Recognize and balance the different needs of all relevant stakeholders.
- Leverage the full 360° of Directional Leadership
The fourth stage – SELF MANAGEMENT – or Recognizing Your Impact and Modifying Your Thoughts, Feelings, Beliefs, and Behaviors, Accordingly – is the often the trickiest stage to improve upon…because it’s the most personal. Many leaders just aren’t aware of their impact, in real time. Or maybe they are, but don’t have the tools to ‘autocorrect’ in the moment. LeadershipTraction fosters the type of meaningful dialog that enables executives, vice presidents, directors, middle-managers, and up-and-coming new leaders to:
- Pursue and encourage feedback that may reveal an error in judgment and them name appropriate adjustments.
- Demonstrate an ability to recognize one’s own personal biases or limitations in perspective and use this understanding to improve one’s own thinking and plans for action.
- Recognize when serious flaws in one’s own ideas or actions require swift public acknowledgement of the mistake and a dramatic change in direction.
- Appropriately articulate the essential flaws in the arguments of others and reiterate the strengths of one’s own position.
- Recognize when it is appropriate to resist the objections of others and remain committed to a sound course of action.
The bottom line is that Leadership Competency is the “stuff” that determines if someone will succeed or fail in a leadership capacity. Whether they’ll thrive or struggle. And, by extension, so to the work groups, teams, departments, divisions, or companies they are responsible for leading, managing, and ensuring the highest levels of productivity and engagement.
The Leadership Competency/ Promotability Index
The Leadership Competency/ Promotability Index (LCPI) is a leadership development assessment that is based on the works of Justin Menkes (Executive Intelligence, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), and Richard Beckhard and Reuben T. Harris (Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1987), and the research findings reported in Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton (The Free Press, 2001).
LCPI Assessment Versions
- The LCPI-360° – the LCPI-360° is a multi-rater assessment that solicits feedback from your peers, direct reports, and more senior leaders in your organization as to what type of leader you are and your readiness for additional responsibilities and authority. This assessment includes a 1½-to 2-hour, 1-on-1, debriefing/review by telephone, to help you make sense of – and derive the most value from – it’s reported findings.
- The LCPI-I – the LCPI-I (individual) is a self-assessment tool that helps individuals identify the gaps in their s own thinking and planning, as a leader, and their self-perceptions as to their readiness and interest in assuming additional responsibilities and authority. The LCPI-I includes the 45-to-60-minute, 1-on-1, debriefing/review by telephone, to help you make sense of – and derive the most value from – its reported findings.
I learned so much from my LCPI assessment…things about myself that pretty much everyone else already knew, I’m embarrassed to say. But now that I know, too, I can actually do something about it.
Interested in learning more about the LCPI for you, your direct reports, or others in your organization?
If you think a brief conversation about your leadership development needs – or those of others in your organization – could be useful, call or connect to coordinate calendars.