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What Separates High-Performing Leaders from Average Ones

Is the business world conspiring against leaders? Studies have shown employee dissatisfaction with not only their jobs, but their leaders. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Todd Warner explores what people can do to combat this and continue on the path to leadership success.

How Leadership Fails

The days of relying on competencies are gone, and even the leader with seemingly perfect ability on paper may end up failing. Why? Because leadership is not a simple logic problem to be solved; it requires effort and interpersonal skills daily. In order for a leader to succeed, they must first understand the fundamentals of the social environment in which they will be working. Yes, they still need their technical skills, but competencies too often do not account for necessary charisma.

Where the Divide Occurs

When analyzing BHP Billiton, Warner discovered that what separated the “good” from the “best” were the executions of simple day-to-day tasks. Leaders can adapt to their surroundings and constantly learn and evolve into what is necessary at that time. They also actively build and encourage strong relationships, so when problems arise they have help to amend the situation.

How then can a person become this amazing, elusive leader? To begin, conduct a self-assessment. By looking at monotonous routines, it often becomes clear where improvements can be made. It may also be useful to look to those deemed as “high-performers.” Shadowing the greats might yield some secret tips of the trade that one can then incorporate into their own routine.

Ultimately, communication is vitally important. Being a leader means being able to converse with people at all levels around you, from your boss to your subordinate. When discussing leadership, be sure to emphasize application and improvement, because building a reality is far more useful than a bunch of theorizing. Additionally, be open to constructive criticism and pointers on where improvements can be made.

There is more to a leader than competencies; focus on the concrete. You can read the original article here:


Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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