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Leadership Effectiveness

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					                          Leadership Effectiveness
                               MARSHALL GOLDSMITH

  By asking for feedback, analyzing the results, developing a focused action plan for change and
                      following-up, leaders are perceived as more effective.



    Recently, one executive was asked, “How much do you spend each year on leadership
development programs?” He replied, “Tens of millions of dollars!” He was then asked,
“How much do you spend on follow-up?” He replied, “Tens of dollars!”

    More effort needs to be placed on the follow-up required to ensure positive, long-term
change. By developing processes that ensure ongoing feedback and follow-up, we can help
leaders develop in a manner that requires fewer resources and produces more change.

   When we designed and implemented a leadership development process for one
company, every manager received anonymous feedback.

    Later the managers reviewed the feedback with outside consultants in coaching sessions
designed to help the managers understand their perceived strengths and plan for
improvement.

    Based upon direct-report feedback, each manager was encouraged to pick one to three
areas for improvement, develop an action plan for desired change, respond to direct reports
concerning the areas for improvement, ask them for help in changing behavior, and follow-
up with them to check on progress and receive further assistance.

    In responding to direct reports, managers were asked to spend only 5 to 15 minutes in a
focused, two-way dialogue. In following up, managers were asked to spend only a few
minutes in a dialogue concerning their progress.

     After 18 months, direct reports were asked to again provide feedback. Three questions
were added: 1) Do you feel your manager has become more effective as a leader in the past
year? 2) Did your manager respond to previous feedback, and 3) How has your manager
followed up with you on areas that he/she has been trying to improve?

Follow Up or Fail

     In leading people, impact is not determined by what leaders think they say, impact is
determined by what direct reports hear. In our study, of those managers who were seen as
not responsive to feedback and not following up, over half were rated as unchanged or less
effective. Managers who were responsive but did no follow-up were perceived as no more
effective than managers who did not respond at all. In fact, this group had the highest
percentage of managers who were seen as getting worse.

    Leaders who respond to feedback, promise change, and then do nothing different are
perceived by their direct reports as less effective. Raising expectations without delivering
  results is a formula for increased dissatisfaction and decreased respect. Even a little follow-
  up has a positive impact. And, 95 percent of the leaders who ask for feedback and engage in
  frequent follow-up are perceived as much more effective.

      Peter Drucker has said, “The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The
  leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.” By asking for feedback,
  analyzing the results, developing a focused action plan for change and following-up (asking
  again), leaders are perceived as more effective by direct reports, team members, and
  customers.

       Leaders often have a constant need to know, be right, and win.

      The higher up you go, the more you need to let other people be winners and not make it
  about winning yourself.

       Many leadership development efforts focus exclusively on the front side of the
  process—impressive training, well-designed forms, clever slogans, and lots of “flash”. They
  fail to focus on the back-side—the ongoing application of what is being learned. And yet
  what leaders do back on the job is a lot more meaningful to people. LE

Marshall Goldsmith is the founding director of the Alliance for Strategic Leadership, and authority on
helping leaders achieve positive change. marshall@gcnet.com. www.marshallgoldsmith.com.

				
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