Three Critical Questions For Senior Leaders

They all came to the conference with the possibility of learning about the new trends in the industry and seeing their colleagues. They were willing to sit through many sessions with an eye to bring back new ideas and lessons to each of the firms they lead. They were all leaders in their own right, with courage and vision. These were the leaders I had the privilege of presenting to on “Why Leadership Matters” recently in New Orleans.

It is never easy being vulnerable and sharing the truths of what is happening in our workplaces. To expose the challenges we face each day can feel risky and uncomfortable. But that is exactly what happened during my presentation, as a group of highly committed senior leaders patiently waited for their turn to speak into the microphone. As each partner spoke, the room remained silent, with an occasional chuckle and a chiming in of “Sounds like my firm.”

So what three questions did I pose to the leaders?

  • How do we lead the teams we have?
  • What is preventing us from leading?
  • What would great leadership look like?
  • Strong leadership is the key to an organization’s survival. When senior leaders model strong leadership, their team members will be empowered to lead from wherever they are.

    In fact in a 2012 study entitled, The Value of Bosses conducted by the U.S National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the findings suggest that good bosses and managers can impact the performance of a team significantly.

    What they found was:

  • Replacing a bad boss with a good one increases productivity of each direct report’s output by more than 10%.
  • Replacing a boss who is in the lower 10% of boss quality with one who is in the upper 10% of boss quality increases a team’s total output by about the same as adding one worker to a nine-member team.
  • Workers who are assigned to better bosses are less likely to leave the firm.
  • So that’s why leadership matters!

    The senior leaders I meet, realized that although they may be leading imperfect teams , they still had the ability to make a difference. These are the teams they were given and these are the teams they need to embrace. Transforming an imperfect team into a high performing team depends on strong leadership. One way that can begin to happen is by cultivating a trusting work environment where both leaders and team members walk the talk, following through on what they say they will do. It also involves leaders sharing their mistakes and failures as well as the lessons they learned from them.

    Are you ready to lead and transform your team or workplace? How have you become a good boss or leader?