I recently had an informal conversation with a CEO at one of Australia’s largest corporations. What I loved about the exchange was his honesty – he opened up about what makes him a great leader, and was willing to share some of his challenges, too.
It was refreshing – and got me thinking. Nowadays, distinguished leaders are influencers, not controllers. The goalposts have changed. Unlike the traditional, hierarchical leaders, professionals at the top today are achieving success by staying in the high-performance zone (HPZ).
But what does that mean exactly? The HPZ incorporates four elements. Here is my take, which I shared with the CEO (above), during our discussion:
“Get off the dance floor and stand on the balcony for a while.” – it’s an apt analogy. By taking the time to evaluate from an objective viewpoint, you will get an understanding of what is really going on. The perspective is clearest from the balcony (conducive for thought and reflection), but it requires discipline and a clear strategy when you’re up there (don’t just take in the view!).
Staying in the high-performance zone leads to high-performance results – and trust is the vital ingredient to creating happy, productive teams. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is another key leadership skill – a skill/quality that differentiates good leaders from great ones. Studies have established that among business leaders, men possess EQ but women use it much more effectively.
Being a transformative leader is not necessarily about how you rate in the charisma stakes. It is about how you are able to capitialise on your team’s capabilities – collective skills, abilities and expertise – to develop and execute business strategies. Importantly, the way you bring people and resources together will inform the identity and personality of the business.
People are a leader’s greatest resource. Of course, people are not computers and can’t be expected to operate a high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. It is up to you to model the behaviours you would like to see from your team – when you’re aiming to achieve sustainable excellence, increased engagement and loyalty. Taking the time rejuvenate is one of them!
Please share your experiences/thoughts on staying in the high-performance zone.