Leadership is About Getting Results

July 10, 2013
# min read
Paradigm Associates LLC

Who in a position of leadership or management hasn't experienced the following: you know exactly what needs to get done through your people, and yet it doesn't get done?

Anyone who has had such an experience knows the frustration involved. If they've given it further thought, they probably also could guess at the affect on top and/or bottom line results. It hurts sales. Or it disappoints customers. It increases costs through wasted time and "do-overs." Just the frustration alone hurts creativity and productivity.

With further reflection on such experiences, the issues involved are leadership issues, organizational leadership and personal leadership. And such leadership issues arise in all sizes and types of businesses and organizations.

The majority of what's been written and said about leadership focuses on leadership characteristics and how to develop them. Seminar leaders have filled pages when they ask participants for the characteristics of great leaders. If great leaders have all those characteristics, or some do and some don't, then the question still isn't answered - what makes a great leader? That's because the focus on leadership characteristics misses the point -- kind of like going to a hardware store to buy a drill bit; what you really want is a hole.

Ret. Army Col. Dandridge M. Malone said, "The very essence of leadership is its purpose; and the purpose is to accomplish a task. That is what leadership does - and what it does is more important than what it is and how it works." Peter Drucker put it directly, "Leadership is all about results."

Looking at leadership in this way gets us past the old question of whether leaders are born or made. They are made; anyone can learn to get things accomplished. Secondly, it leads to the realization that if we want to develop leaders in our organization, first we need to get clear on what results we want to get. Then we develop in people the skills, attitudes, knowledge, behaviors that will lead to those results, as opposed to developing certain characteristics and hoping they will yield the desired results.

This perspective on leadership applies to leadership of others and leadership of self, both organizational and personal. Whether seeking to get something done through others or yourself, the implications are the same - focusing on results means taking complete responsibility for getting something done. There's a saying in sales that "earthquakes don't matter." What makes one a leader is refusing to let an obstacle become a reason for not getting something done. No, to a leader, regardless of where they are in the organization, an obstacle is just that, something to find a way around in order to get the desired result.

What that means for leaders of organizations, again regardless of size, is that employees aren't an excuse for not getting desired results. Successful leaders take responsibility for everything in their business. That doesn't mean you have to do everything yourself. Taking responsibility means if you aren't getting the results you want, look first at yourself and what you can do differently or better. When things aren't going right, most of us try to change other people. To reach our goals, we don't have to change others (most of them won't do it anyway), we need to change ourselves. Others change as we change our thoughts about them.

So to stop that frustrating experience of knowing what needs to get done and seeing it not get done, try this: 

   · Get real clear and specific on what you want to accomplish. Write it in the form of specific goals. 

    · Communicate, communicate, communicate those goals to everyone in your organization. Don't expect that people will read your mind or automatically know what needs to get done. Most people won't ask if you don't tell them; they think it will show their ignorance. 

    · Enlist people in your vision and in achieving your goals. Most people hate to be told, but love to asked. So try asking for their help. Ask them to be part of your plan, your goals, your purpose. 

    · Invest in your people. They will be your biggest asset or your biggest hindrance. How they act day-to-day probably has a bigger affect on your bottom line than any other factor in your business. So give them every chance and help to make that affect positive. 

"Leadership is all about results." Try those four steps. And start seeing what extraordinary results you can get from ordinary people.

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