Understanding Leadership - bringing order into chaos?
Leadership is a topic which is high on the agenda for all organisations. It’s difficult to pick up a respectable magazine or journal and not find in it some reference.
Leadership is very much about engaging employees in such a way that it produces discretionary effort which translates into better and improving organisational performance – exceeding expectations.
The one thing we are not short of is leadership models and advice. All have appeal and most contribute something to our understanding of leadership. This is particularly true of behavioral models.
One challenge is evidencing what leadership is. Another is dealing with the situational element.
In 2008, AQR, together with Professor Peter Clough, carried out a major exercise with the ILM which led to the development of the Integrated Leadership Model and an associated psychometric measure the ILM72.
The result was interesting. Most, if not all major leadership models were rooted in the same core elements – aspects of leadership style. This work didn’t “invent” a new model. It made sense of what was out there already.
Moreover it was able to establish what are the 6 key aspects of leadership style and describe them in a way that practitioners and leaders could easily access and use. And these map to all leadership models.
All leaders adopt a preferred way of working. There is no right or wrong style. We know that style is situational. But self awareness is critically important here –the effective leader has to adapt their style to the situation which may be ever changing.
The framework is useful as a map for defining key aspects of the organisations culture which helps to explain organisational performance and behavior.
ILM72 measures adopted style across six scales representing the six aspects of leadership style.
How important achieving goals is to the leader
The Means v. The End
What the leader believes is the prime path to motivation
The Task v. The Person
How leaders will engage with others
Flexible v. Dogmatic
The extent to which leaders need to be in control
De-Centralised v. Centralised
The leaders preferred approach to recognition
Reward v. Punishment
How important structure is to the leader
Structured v. Organic
Leadership Effectiveness – core competencies
The study also revealed that there were three core competencies which are crucial for leadership effectiveness. The ILM72 was developed to assess these three qualities too.
DETERMINATION TO DELIVER
This describes a single minded determination to achieve.
ENGAGEMENT WITH INDIVIDUALS
This describes enhancing the capability, confidence and commitment of individuals to enable them to perform and to fulfil themselves.
ENGAGEMENT WITH TEAMS
The emphasis is on cross functional team working – a leader supports how people work together across the organisation.
This time, there was a “right or wrong” to the scale. The more those leaders demonstrated these qualities the more effective they were perceived as leaders by their followers.
In Summary, AQR’s work means that we now have a complete package with:
A definition and description of leadership style and leadership effectiveness which maps to all leadership models
A concept which is accessible and relates easily to models of motivation
A reliable psychometric measure
Development programs which deliver measurable results.
About Doug StryCharczyk
Doug is the CEO of AQR and for AQR International – Founded in 1989, AQR is now recognised as one of the most innovative (and fast growing) test publishers in the world working in more than 80 countries. See www.aqr.co.uk. AQR established its reputation initially as a leader in Team Building and Leadership development. His work on leadership has been featured on BBC Television where Prof John Adair described it as “highly effective” In recent years, Doug has also worked with Professor Peter Clough to define mental toughness and to create the world’s leading measure of mental toughness.
Doug has authored “Developing Mental Toughness” (2015) (Kogan Page) with Professor Clough and has co-authored chapters with Professor Clough in Leadership Coaching (2010) (Kogan Page & Association for Coaching)