In their book “The Extraordinary Leader”, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman look at research on leadership skills. They demonstrate that not only can leadership be developed, but that essential leadership skills are relatively few in number. They found that very few leaders possess the entire essential skill set, nor do they possess similar patterns of skills.
Zenger and Folkman undertook a survey review of approximately 22,000, 360 degree feedback reports, and were able to identify that the top 10% of leaders made a positive difference to all aspects of the organisation based on 5 key areas of leadership.
They built a model referred to as the “Leadership Tent” to represent these 5 key areas of effective leadership. The poles of the tent in their metaphor represent key strengths of the individual leader.
Character is at the core of all leadership effectiveness and therefore at the centre of the tent, with the other four poles being:
- Personal Capabilities
- Focus on Results
- Leading Change
- Interpersonal Skills
Through their research, one of the key insights the authors discovered is that leaders are made, not born. People can learn and improve their leadership effectiveness through self-development. The key to lifting more of the tent (becoming a more effective leader) is to get multiple poles high in the air.
In the coming blog posts, we will explore each of the poles of the tent in greater detail, starting with the centre pole of Character.