… Another interesting addition by Ulrich and Smallwood ‘leadership code’ after their interesting and must-read book “Leadership Brand”.

“The world doesn’t need another leadership theory. On Amazon, there are 480,881 books today that have to do with leaders as the topic. If you ask 30 leadership development experts to define leadership, you get 31 different answers. No wonder we’re confused.

This is a problem when trying to develop effective leaders- everyone has a different opinion and there’s no right answer. Progress can only be made when there’s agreement about what we’re trying to develop leaders to do.

I was in a meeting recently with a group of senior executives from the same company and started with the question: “What are qualities of effective leaders?” Here’s a partial list of their responses:

• Authentic
• Transparent
• Emotional intelligence
• Interpersonal effectiveness
• Servant-leader
• Humility
• Leaders not managers
• Know contingency theory by mapping response to situation
• Live the 7 Habits
• Build a vision
• Ensure customer centricity

And so on.

In other words, they had no clue. They could make a list but they did not have a point of view.

Dave Ulrich and I (along with our colleague Kate Sweetman) determined to synthesize this morass of ideas. We turned to recognized experts in the field who had already spent years sifting through the evidence and asked two simple but elusive questions:

1. What percentage of effective leadership traits are basically the same?
2. If there are common rules that all leaders must master, what are they?

Our respondents agreed that 60-70% of leadership is common for any effective leaders – from a bootstrapping entrepreneur to a leader at a large organization. By synthesizing their work we identified five rules to decode leadership:

Rule 1: Shape the future. This rule is embodied in the strategist dimension of the leader. Strategists answer the question “where are we going?” and make sure that those around them understand the direction as well.”

… Read the full article at: http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/cs/2009/09/decoding_leadership.html

Decoding Leadership
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