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The Ninth Outer-Core Competency: The Drive for Results
To deliver consistent results, leaders need to master the ninth outer-core leadership competency, the Drive for Results. Mastering this competency requires leaders to:
- Set direction and define goals
- Work out achievable plans
- Assign tasks optimally
- Provide recognition where warranted
- Offer ongoing guidance
- Measure and evaluate results to improve future work
As a leader, you must deliver results
“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon.
Leaders Deliver Results
The goal of any leadership – intelligent or otherwise – is to deliver optimal results with an optimal amount of effort. Leaders who are unable to deliver results are unfit to lead.
Being obsessed with results, however, is not the optimal way to approach this leadership objective. The drive for results is a complex outer-core leadership competency comprised of six skills/areas of expertise.
In my book “Intelligent Leadership,” I have deconstructed and dissected this outer-core leadership competency, identifying its components as:
- Showing the way and establishing goals
- Assigning tasks
- Rewarding performance
- Keeping the work process under control
- Evaluating results and applying the knowledge resulting from the evaluation
Setting the Direction and Common Goals
Establishing a well-defined direction and common goals allows you to align your strategy with the organizational vision while allocating resources efficiently.
When you provide a clear direction, you empower your team in many ways:
- You make your priorities clear, and you cut unnecessary work. A clear direction pulls the veil off busywork, allowing you and your reports to distinguish it from meaningful work at a glance.
- You create accountability. Accountability requires a clear set of expectations, and that is what a well-defined direction gives you and your team.
- You motivate your team. It gives your employees targets to hit and satisfaction when they accomplish their goals.
How do you set a good direction for your team? A good direction is time-bound and, therefore, well-anchored in reality. It is very specific concerning its end goal. It accounts for uncertainty, and it is the result of collaborative work. If your team has a say in defining the direction, its members will automatically claim some degree of psychological ownership over it.
A plan is imagination’s first link to reality before execution. Developing clear plans is, therefore, essential. A good plan should cover decision-making, deliverables, and flexibility.
As a leader, it falls to you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. You are the one responsible for optimally leveraging their strengths through the effective assigning of tasks. The effective assigning of tasks empowers your team while engaging the right skills.
Performance expectations and accountability go hand-in-hand with a reward/recognition system to spur motivation. It is the leader’s responsibility to align the recognition system with expectations while providing development opportunities and continuous, relevant feedback.
Recognition is supremely empowering and motivating
Providing Ongoing Oversight and Guidance
The intelligent leader understands that results do not favor a fire-and-forget approach. Such a leader actively oversees the execution of the changes that will lead to the projected results. He/she possesses a deep understanding of the work process and the human interactions it involves but avoids micromanagement.
This way, the overseer can effect course-correction when required, retaining flexibility.
Evaluating Results and Applying the Knowledge Gained through Evaluation
It makes scientific sense to evaluate the results of a process and then use that information to refine future work. Leaders have to make sure that they have adequate measurement systems in place that generate relevant information about the quality of the results.
Interested in improving this outer-core competency in yourself or your leaders/employees? Get your copy of “Intelligent Leadership” here.