Roselle Leadership Blog

The Three R’s of High Performance Leadership

Although leaders do not need to be highly effective at every behavioral aspect of building relationships, achieving results, and demonstrating resourcefulness, they must maximize the strengths they have and minimize the impact of their weaknesses.  Using a multi-rater instrument like the FULLVIEW™ provides leaders with the in-depth perspective they need to identify their strengths and development areas as seen by their manager, peers, direct reports, and others. 

Once individuals receive feedback, how can you best work with them to leverage their strengths and ensure that they have no major gaps that might derail them?  In our work with client organizations, one approach we employ regarding this question is to provide Development Assessments to a group of leaders or high potentials.  This type of assessment typically includes FULLVIEW™ 360-degree feedback, personality testing, and an in-depth interview with each individual. 

The feedback results for leaders or high potentials on our FULLVIEW™ tend to cluster into a six-cell matrix, with different development strategies attached to each, depending on their strengths and deficits across the Three-R’s (relationships, results, and resourcefulness):


 

Some strengths in 1-2 areas


Solid strengths in all 3 areas



Standout strengths in 1-2

 

Minor deficits in one or more areas



Spend minimal development time, focus on strengths, consider band-width limitations



Develop strengths, spend minimal time on deficits

 

Leverage strengths, spend minimal time on deficits

 

Major deficits in one or more areas



Spend minimal development time, look to replace


Develop strengths, look for underlying issues in deficits, consider replacing



Leverage strengths, look for underlying issues in deficits

KEY:   red=low priority     amber=moderate priority      green=high priority development

Based on this matrix, we recommend minimal investment of development time for individuals with some strength in one or two areas (first column); if they have minor deficits across the three core competencies we often encourage spending some amount of time building their existing strength areas, if their potential has not been tapped fully.  For example, if you have a few young leaders who exhibit some ability to achieve results and can be resourceful on occasion, you might conduct other personality and ability/skills tests to determine their potential for growth.  If the results are encouraging, you could decide to invest some development time focused on their strengths.  For leaders with only some strength in one or two areas, but major deficits in the other areas, you would probably not invest development resources, but, instead, look to replace them.

On the other hand, for leaders who show a balance of solid strengths across all core competencies (second column), your inclination usually should be to invest resources to build on those strengths.  When they have only minor deficits, our suggestion is that you ignore these in favor of focusing on their strengths.  If they have major deficits, however, you will serve the organization best by looking for underlying causes.  These leaders are ones you probably want to keep, but you will need to invest in improving their deficit areas. 

Often, there are underlying causes like organizational obstacles, poor fit with boss, poor fit with primary responsibilities, or internal obstacles (perfectionism, defensiveness, low self-esteem, etc,) that get in the way in these situations.  Making changes, removing obstacles, and bringing in a coach are ways to remove or minimize underlying issues.  If these steps seem too costly, or they show little impact early on, consider replacing the individual.  In using our Leading Fearlessly™ model with such leaders, we often discover that underlying irrational fears and faulty beliefs cause or contribute to their ineffective reactions to situations.  Bruce Roselle’s book, Fearless Leadership (2006), provides a six-step approach for recognizing ineffective reactions and replacing them with high performance behaviors. 

For leaders with standout strengths (third column), get out of their way as much as possible.  Help them leverage strengths, but do not force them to spend much of their time in the deficit areas, especially if they are minor.  However, leaders with standout strengths and a major deficit or two are usually great candidates for coaching.  This is only true, however, if they recognize the deficits, take personal responsibility for them, and express genuine interest in becoming more effective in these areas.

All leaders with minor deficits (first row in the matrix), whether they have only one or two strengths or standout strengths, would also benefit from training in the areas of leadership effectiveness.  Learning and practicing a set of core skills and understanding the perspectives of high performance leaders can raise an individual’s level of overall effectiveness and offset minor deficits.  As an example, our clients often bring us in to provide sessions from our Good Managers to Great Leaders™ workshop series to enhance strengths and support development areas.  Although leaders do not need to be highly effective at every behavioral aspect of building relationships, achieving results, and demonstrating resourcefulness, the primary goal of any leadership development initiative should be to maximize the strengths they have and minimize the impact of their weaknesses. 

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