Six Fatal Flaws That Kill A Leader’s Effectiveness

An interesting article written by Jack Zenger is the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a strengths-based leadership development firm that provides insightful data from over 87,000 leaders from a 360 assessment where leaders from across the globe were evaluated by (on average) 13 other people.

In our original research, we identified a profound strength as a competency at the 90th percentile. We decided to apply the same logic at the other end of the scale. We identified those behaviors at or below the 10th percentile as fatal flaws. We calculated the 10th percentile mean score for each of the competencies we measured and then created an overall 10th percentile average score.

Using this 10th percentile average score as the general cut-off score for fatal flaws, we then identified which competencies had the highest and lowest frequency of people in this fatal flaw range.

What was the most common fatal flaw among all leaders? The answer was “Inspiring and Motivating People to High Performance.”

Inspires and Motivates. The most common fatal flaw is the inability to inspire and motivate others. One in five leaders has this serious problem. Most leaders have learned how to drive for results. We call that push. Pushing is an effective way to make sure that others get work done. Setting deadlines, holding others accountable, reminding others of deadlines and rewarding or punishing people when deadlines are met or missed, gets results and motivates people.

Practices Self-Development. The second most common fatal flaw is one over which you have complete control. One technique for self-development is asking others for feedback. But many people resist. People who learn this skill are more successful in practicing self-development because other people let them know when they are making a mistake.

Teamwork and Collaboration. Have you ever been part of a great team? Have you ever been in a group where it was fun to just be there and be included? You worked hard because the team worked hard. On the other hand, have you ever been on a difficult team? The difference is huge. Being on a great team improves morale, productivity, quality and engagement.

Develops Others. Employee surveys show that one of the most sought-after rewards of a job is the opportunity to develop and learn a new skill. Development changes jobs into a career. Many leaders complain that they are overwhelmed with their jobs but resist training one of their direct reports to take over some of their responsibilities.

Communicates Powerfully. Communication is one of the easiest skills to improve. Our research revealed that when comparing pre-test to post-test results, the largest improvement came in the area of communication. Many leaders are simply lazy about keeping others informed, sharing information correctly or following up with others. Others think that squirreling information gives them more power and influence.

Builds Relationships. Some leaders have a difficult time building and maintaining positive relationships with others. Some leaders fear familiarity with others, assuming that if they are friendly with team members, they will take advantage of you. What suffers the most with poor relationships is trust. Distrust erodes almost every other aspect of leadership. Learning the fundamentals of how to build a positive, trusting relationship with others is a skill that will help people in every aspect of their lives.

Read the full article on the Forbes website via this link.

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