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“Whole” leaders balance head, heart and guts, while “partial” leaders lag in one or two qualities. Here’s a series of questions to determine if you or your organization are balanced, along with adjustments you can make:
What percentage of your leaders would you call geniuses or geeks? Action: If it’s more than half, mix things up and develop or bring in more people who are fearless and great at human interaction.
In recruiting, do you and your organization look primarily for ability, teamwork, boldness or all three? Action: Don’t dwell on one. Go for balance.
Do your performance reviewsreflect a wide range of leadership qualities? Action: Evaluate those qualities equitably, remembering to focus on behaviors, not personalities.
Is your leader-development process obsessed with people skills? Knowledge? Risk-taking? Action: Capitalize on your leaders’ strengths, but also help them shore up weak spots.
What adjectives do people use to describe you or your CEO? “Brilliant,” “great strategist,” “highly analytical,” “detail- and results-oriented”? Or more like “well-rounded,” “brave,” “smart,” “direct” and “no-nonsense but caring”?
Looking at your top leaders, what traits do most share? Head, heart, guts or all three? Action: Training or coaching can fill in any gaps.
Would you characterize your culture as chiefly head, heart or guts? Does one dominate or is it a mix? Action: Culture change is no walk in the park. Sure, it starts at the top, but you have to recruit, communicate and train to even things up.
If a promising subordinate asked how to get ahead in your shop, would you advise 1) taking risks that pay off, 2) creating bonds of trust and teamwork, 3) devising watertight strategies, or 4) executing across the board? Action: At the risk of asking your colleague for the earth, sun, moon and stars, advise a balanced approach.
—Adapted from Head, Heart & Guts: How the World’s Best Companies Develop Complete Leaders, David Dotlich, Peter Cairo and Stephen Rhinesmith, Jossey-Bass.
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