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Few Great Leaders
In a 2013 research study Gallup made an interesting observation about American leadership. They reported that in America approximately 100 million people hold full-time jobs. To lead and manage that group, Gallup estimated (using a 10:1 span of control) that 10 million great supervisors were needed. An additional 1 million leaders of those supervisors were also required. Then Gallup made an interesting observation – there are only 3 million great supervisors! That means that about 30% of leaders are significantly above average. (Interestingly enough, this is a significantly higher percentage of great leaders than the 18% Teleometrics International estimated a number of years ago).
This survey raises several questions:
• What criteria should be used to evaluate leadership greatness?
• Is great leadership (add even the not so great) a yes-no, black-white distinction or are there variations in the great and not so great?
• Which group are you in: the 30% or the 70%?
The Leadership and Organization Assessment Model
Everybody wants to know how he or she is doing and yet we all know that getting clear and unvarnished feedback is not easy. This is especially true for those in leadership positions.
In order to begin the discussion here is a leadership assessment tree for leaders and organizations. This leadership assessment tree is designed for a specific purpose: to initiate a discussion among leadership teams about where organizations and leaders are and about what could be done to build or enhance a high achieving leadership culture.
The model has some limitations that should be noted in order to use it properly.
• The model uses current performance goals as the starting point for the assessment. If those goals are set too high or too low, the assessment may be skewed.
• Engagement and capability are grouped as the two most important factors in employee involvement and motivation. It requires discussion to define terms like significant capability growth and engagement of staff. They also could be separated for more precision.
• Not all capability development is equal. Capability development around core competencies is of high value; capability development around peripheral skills is lower value
• The model looks at positioning the organization for future success as key element of high achieving leadership. A discussion around what positioning for future success means is critical. Few leaders actively prepare their organizations and people for opportunities and challenges in the future but many will think they do.
• The model is clearly high level and does not delve into specific leadership actions so it cannot be used to identify capability development needs.
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