How to Improve Leadership Performance

There is nothing more powerful than seeing your leadership through the lens of others. It is a scary process for many, but the insight it gives to areas to improve your leadership is worth it.

Over 750 leaders and 6500 of their direct reports, peers and bosses have now used our SmartLeaders Apps 063 tool, a 360-degree feedback tool that allows leaders to look in the mirror (a good place to start). After this many, we can begin to gain some insights into the leadership strengths and areas of improvement for New Zealand and Australian leaders.

5 Things Leaders Are Great At

Our analysis shows the five things our leaders are great at are;

  1. Honesty. New Zealand and Australian leaders take pride. We are considered by those we lead as exhibiting integrity, honesty and fairness, and we apply ethical considerations to guide decisions. This makes sense. As a society, we are quick to come down on those who transgress and we consistently rate as having low levels of corruption.
  2. Passion and Commitment. We are passionate about work, life and the future. We deliver on the commitments we make and go the extra mile.
  3. Role models. We consistently behave in ways that align with team and organisational values, we admit our own mistakes, we demonstrate accountability, we continuously learn and grow.
  4. Emotionally intelligent and resilient. We are self-assured, focussed, show care and compassion and see the positive in most situations.
  5. Influence. We have the respect of others and we represent our teams within our organisations well.

5 Things Leaders Must Get Better At

If one person tells you that you have a tail, you might not be too worried. If two people tell you that you have a tail, you might be curious. If over 750 people tell you that you have a tail, it might be worth taking a look. Here are the 5 things the people we lead are telling us we need to be focussed on improving.

  1. Thinking Strategically. Thinking strategically is, on average, the lowest rated skill among leaders. Engaging in an organisation’s external strategic context, creating a compelling shared vision and communicating that vision in an engaging way are key areas to improve. People want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.
  2. Delivering Strategy. Having a compelling strategy is one thing. Collaboratively crafting and delivering an effective implementation plan is another critical factor feedback suggests we can improve on. The big picture is ultimately delivered ‘on the ground’.
  3. Leading Change. We live in a world of change. The scale and speed of that change is unprecedented. We need to be better change leaders by engaging people in the need for change, recognise different personality types are more comfortable with change than others and keep everybody well informed to minimise uncertainty.
  4. Innovation. Change is being driven by innovation. Creating a culture of innovation and co-creating innovatively with customers and suppliers to improve products, services and customer engagement is a critical area of improvement. If we don’t, competitors will eat us for lunch.
  5. Motivating and growing people. Many of us can be better at recognising that people have different preferences, styles and needs in order to tailor our leadership and communication style. Providing more regular coaching and feedback, as well as being better at managing conflict will be welcomed.

Conclusion

Improvement on five low rated attributes would increase team engagement and amplify organisation-wide performance. On a personal level, it would enhance your leadership effectiveness and reputation.

ISL offers profiling, workshops, programmes and online dashboards to help Chairs of Boards, CEOs, HR and Team Leaders create high performance organisations with the power of leadership. For more information – read about our programmes, or Contact info@leadership.ac.nz .

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