A competency profile recognizing the leadership that exists in any job starts with the idea that there are fundamental leadership competencies that can be brought to all work. These core leadership competencies include:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication
  • Professionalism & integrity
  • Initiative and drive
  • Collaboration & relationship building
  • Creative problem solving
  • Results orientation
  • Creative response to change
  • Learning agility

These fundamental competencies can be used as the basis for selection, learning and development for any and all positions in the organisation.

Middle managers and supervisors represent the next generation of Transformational leaders in the organisation and deserve opportunities for leadership development. The Centre for Creative Leadership, in its paper: Understanding the Leadership challenges of First-time Managers by William Gentry, Paige Logan and Scott Tonidandel, 2014, recommends that organisations:

  • Interview its managers and supervisors to identify the most common challenges they are facing;
  • Design developmental initiatives and leadership challenges around them;
  • Establish learning groups led by mentors; and
  • Provide regular feedback and recognition for the leadership work they are doing.
A learning plan for all leaders is a useful tool for planning and managing professional development. Usually, a learning plan is developed once a fiscal year setting out the financial resources available for the learning and:

  • The learning goals;
  • Learning experiences which will assist the person in achieving these goals; and
  • The support required to develop and apply what is learned.

The learning goals are based on the strategic needs of the leader over the coming year, the Transformational leadership competency profile, and future developmental needs. The learning experiences may include a wide range of activities such as:

  • Experience-based learning activities such as assignments which could bring out their full potential such as:

    • Those that represent a first-time experience
    • Ones that are important to the organisation but include an element of risk
    • Projects that have a short turnaround time, increase the scope of what the leader is typically involved in, or place them in a horizontal task requiring them to work across functional lines.
  • Self-reflection journaling
  • Interviews or mentoring with senior leaders
When our ideas around leadership are undergoing change, it is important to engage employees and all leaders throughout the organization in dialogue sessions to get people talking about what we mean by ‘leadership’. This is particularly important when changes in the public sector workplace and workforce are challenging our ways of looking at & defining leadership.

During the dialogues, you may want to encourage discussion on a number of themes related to Transformational leadership.

Theme #1: Leading from any chair or any position

The concept of collective leadership is still fairly new. You might want to lead a discussion on:
  • Whether leadership is owned by a particular group, style, personality or position in the hierarchy or available to everyone.
  • In activating the leader in all of us, how can we be merchants of hope both for ourselves and with others? Believing that something is possible is not always easy. We are constantly challenged to control our own negative energy and to reframe issues for ourselves.
  • Although each of us can exercise our leadership there is a choice to do so or not. Leaders are engaged in the world around them – not passive observers. Leaders are ready to act and to facilitate others being able to act.

Theme #2: Leading from the whole person

Of course, you can’t talk to anyone about leadership without talking about balance. In the dialogues, you might lead a discussion on:
  • Whether a leader can truly balance work and the rest of their lives.
  • Whether a leader brings all facets of themselves to the role: head, heart, intuition and spirit.

Theme #3: Leading horizontally

Most organisations are evolving as institutions, operating as hybrid organisations. They are structured hierarchically and are organized into distinct and separate units, teams, and departments. Yet, at the same time, the issues they are facing know no boundaries and more and more significant work is being done through networks.

Our leaders are struggling with how to lead in this hybrid environment where vestiges of one way of working exist alongside newly emerging ones.

You might want to lead a discussion on:

  • How to lead horizontally and vertically at the same time. Leaders may be accountable for one file through the chain of command and for others hold a shared but more muted responsibility across jurisdictions.
  • How to deal with the challenges of exercising functional leadership which requires them to lead employees who do not report directly to them.

Theme #4: New leadership skills/competencies

In the dialogues, you might want to include a discussion on the emphasis on the following competencies in our Transformational leaders:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Work life balance
  • Team Building
  • New ways of communicating
  • Systems thinking
  • Creating synergy & working in networks
Delegation is the assignment of any responsibility or authority to another person to carry out specific activities. Delegation is a survival skill for leaders, one that is important for the efficiency and development of more junior leaders throughout the organisation.

Delegation is one of those positive leadership tools which is often not fully realized. However, delegation to the lowest level possible empowers all staff and challenges them to reach their full potential. Further, delegation frees up leaders to organize their days around their value added. Leaders who delegate appropriately indicate that they are left with more time to focus on leading and on determining and responding to the needs of their teams. Use the following steps to help leaders let go and delegate more:

  • Define the task to be done;
  • Select the person or team to do it;
  • Assess their ability;
  • Explain the reason you would like to delegate this task;
  • State the results you want;
  • Consider the resources needed;
  • Agree on deadlines;
  • Communicate with those connected with this project that this task has been delegated; and
  • Provide regular feedback and hold regular update discussions.
Learning forward refers to the practice of sharing learning from those who have participated in a learning activity for those who have not. To embed this practice, you may make learning forward a requirement of funding training of all kinds: workshops, participating in at a conference or attending a webinar. Learning forward also applies to more informal learning where leaders share what they learned from any source with one another. Lunch and learn events are a popular way of doing this. In the sharing, it is important that it takes place fairly close to the learning experience itself.
The Strengthsfinder is an online assessment developed by the Gallup organisation. Part of the positive psychology movement, the Strengthsfinder is based on the idea that we spend too much time focused on developing our weaknesses and looking for gaps in our competencies. According to Gallup, studies with millions of people around the world indicate that we gain more from our investment in our development when we focus on our strengths. If you already have a talent in an area and you work on increasing your knowledge and skills in it you develop faster and to higher levels of mastery.

The Strengthsfinder 2.0 is an assessment which helps you identify your top five strengths and provides a series of ideas for action to bring out your strengths even further. The Strengthsfinder approach consists of:

  • The Strengthsfinder 2.0 book by Tom Rath
  • The online assessment (access code is in the book)
  • Your individual report focused on your five top strengths.

The Strengthsfinder can be used at the individual and group level. You could, for example, include the Strengthsfinder in the annual performance management process. Emerging leaders could use it to maximize their strengths during a stretch assignment. Groups can use it to make better use of all the strengths they have on a team or to better understand the differences between teams.

The multiplier effect refers to the need to better leverage and utilize the leadership talents of all your current resources. To broaden the leadership bandwidth, we need more experienced leaders who can multiply the intelligence and capability of people who are already around them and increase the brainpower of the organization to meet its needs.

This new logic is one of multiplication. Leaders rooted in the logic of multiplication believe:

  1. Most people in organizations are underutilized.
  2. Capability for leadership in any position can be leveraged with the right kind of leadership.
  3. Therefore, intelligence and capability can be multiplied without requiring a bigger investment.

Research presented in the book,The Multiplier Effect by Liz Wiseman, has shown that some leaders are particularly effective in accessing and revitalizing intelligence and innate leadership in the people around them. They are called Multipliers. They make everyone around them smarter and more capable. Multipliers look beyond their own genius and focus their energy on extracting and extending the genius of others.

Other leaders act as Diminishers and seem to drain intelligence and leadership out of people. Their focus on their own intelligence and their resolve to be the smartest person in the room have a diminishing effect on everyone else. In countless meetings, these leaders are idea killers and energy destroyers.

In studying Multipliers and Diminishers, Wiseman found that they get dramatically different results. Multipliers extract all the capability from people. In interviews, people told researchers that Multipliers got a lot more out of them than Diminishers.

In fact, Wiseman’s continued studies show that Multipliers get two times more from people. The reason for the difference is that when people work with Multipliers they hold nothing back. They offer the best of their thinking, creativity and ideas. They give more than their jobs require. They hold themselves to the highest standards. They give 100 per cent of their abilities to the work.

The Multiplier approach isn’t just an enlightened view of leadership. It is an approach that delivers higher performance because it gets vastly more out of people and returns to them a richly satisfying experience.

The Accidental Diminisher

Most Diminishers have grown up praised for their intelligence and have moved up the ladder because it. When they became the boss, they assumed it was their job to be the smartest. Often, they are not aware of the restrictive impact they are having on others. Further, hierarchical structures make it easy for diminishing leadership.

Diminisher behaviours are very easy to adopt without intending do. What follows are some everyday examples. No one is immune. Examples of Accidental Diminisher behaviours:

  • An employee is having trouble getting a report out and the deadline is looming. You stay late and do it for them.
  • An employee comes in to your office with a challenge they are encountering and you quickly tell them what they should do.
  • You tell your team that you understand a concern they have because you used to have the same one when you were at their level but you have grown since then.
  • You insist that all employees are positive about an upcoming change and meet with any dissenters individually to persuade them to be more positive.
  • You present the project a talented member of your team did because you want to be sure you are seen as having a key role in it.
  • You ask your staff to check with you first before making any key decisions.
  • When a client complains about the services of your team you don’t ask them about it but treat it as an opportunity to get and then give negative feedback.
  • You do most of the speaking at meetings and fill in the silences if there are any.
  • You keep your hand very much in projects that you used to do when you were at a lower level because you are interested in them.
  • You have brainstorming meetings only with those team members who tend to agree with you.
  • You do not allow a talented employee to do some work for another unit because you don’t want to lose them.
  • You take time before you accept good ideas you haven’t thought of before.

The Accidental Diminisher Quiz Is a quick assessment which allows a leader to see the extent to which they may be inadvertently diminishing their staff. Along with the assessment the leader receives a report analysing their responses with suggestions for how they can adjust their leadership practices to get more from their teams. To access the Accidental Diminisher Quiz, go to: www.multipliersbook.com and click on the Accidental Diminisher Quiz link.

The multiplier effect concept can be introduced at the individual and group levels. A process might include engaging participants in reflection followed by action planning for development.

Emotional Intelligence includes a range of non-cognitive competencies and skills that influence our ability to cope with demands and succeed. Emotional Intelligence is a set of skills that establish how well we:

  • Perceive and express ourselves;
  • Develop and maintain social relationships;
  • Cope with challenges; and
  • Use emotional information in an effective way when solving problems and making decisions.

Multiple studies with thousands of leaders have shown consistently that Emotional Intelligence is a better predictor of success than IQ and that Emotional Intelligence skills are the difference that makes the difference between good and great leaders.

Some of the reasons Emotional Intelligence makes better leaders in because leaders with higher Emotional Intelligence tend to have more or better:

  • compassion
  • effectiveness in communication
  • self-awareness
  • authenticity
  • respect for others
  • confidence

Tools that assist you in introducing Emotional Intelligence include:

  • An on-line assessment such as the EQI 2.0
  • Debriefs and workshops led by certified EQI specialists
  • Many books on the topic

      • The EQ Edge by Steven Stein and Howard Book
      • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Caribbean Leadership Project
Cave Hill School of Business
University of the West Indies
Cave Hill Campus
P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, BB11000, Barbados
+1 246 417 3152