A Framework for Leadership

  • 3 mins read

Are leaders born or made? I could argue for both positions. In the work I do corporate coaching, I’ve seen some naturally gifted leaders, and some who’ve simply worked hard and grown into excellence.
The real issue is that all leaders can improve. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a high-potential team member, you can boost your performance in five crucial leadership areas. I’ve seen this happen. I’ve been working with high potential people who’ve made some amazing improvements through executive coaching.
More than half a million business books deal with leadership acumen, but studying the most respected experts’ ideas reveals a consensus on the foremost functions required for effectiveness.
In The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman have synthesized current thinking on leadership and developed a framework that blends idealism with realism. They’ve distilled leadership into five core roles, regardless of one’s industry or business environment:

  1. Strategist Leaders shape the future.
  2. Executor Leaders make things happen.
  3. Talent manager Leaders engage today’s talent.
  4. Human-capital developer Leaders build the next generation.
  5. Personal proficiency Leaders invest in their own development.

Having a framework for the most essential leadership skills will help you avoid quick fixes and business-book fads. While the scope of leadership may seem overwhelming, these five golden rules provide much-needed focus.
Leaders must excel in many areas: innovative strategies, long-term customer relationships, quality execution, high-performing teams and accountability. They need to manage people, communicate well, engage and inspire others, exercise keen judgment and decision-making, excel at emotional intelligence and demonstrate ethical integrity. It’s easy to get lost if you pursue the wrong priorities.
With a clear and concise framework that covers the entire leadership landscape, you can concentrate on how to become more effective and determine the best ways to develop talent. The Leadership Code offers five pivotal rules that lay out how the game is played. Knowing them enables you to modify your behavior and ultimately succeed.
There’s no doubt that people can grow and develop their leadership talent; I’ve seen it happen in the work I do as an executive coach. But what’s needed is focused, deliberate practice on the things that count, that really contribute to a leader being effective. These five areas pinpoint the most essential things to concentrate on.
What do you think about these concepts? Do they encapsulate all of the areas required for a leader to be effective? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment.

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