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Good leadership can be simple but it’s never easy

August 27, 2015

Leadership expert, best-selling author, and longtime Global Institute for Leadership Development® (GILD) faculty member Marshall Goldsmith has been helping people become better leaders for decades. And as you can see in his recent article that appeared on www.hbr.org (below), his advice on leadership can be elegant in its simplicity:

“Robert was the head of an East Coast insurance company,” Goldsmith writes. “His greatest asset was his large, extroverted personality. He was the classic glad-handing, backslapping, high-energy salesman. His problem was a familiar one, too: a great salesman–even one with charisma—doesn’t necessarily make a great leader.

“After receiving some 360-degree feedback, we met to discuss the data. He’d received low scores on providing clear goals and direction, indicating a chaotic management style. His challenge, as I saw it, was twofold: he had to change himself and his environment simultaneously—which meant aligning his team’s behavior with his own.

“In my years of executive coaching and research about behavioral change, I have learned one key lesson, which has near-universal applicability: We do not get better without structure. Structure is a major contributor to successful behavioral change, whether you’re trying to change your own behavior, or your team’s. When either asking for or providing feedback, structure can make the process a positive encounter for both parties.

“I had a simple off-the-shelf structure for Robert that had worked with clients many times before. It took the form of six basic questions he would discuss during a bimonthly one-on-one meeting with each of his nine direct reports. The agenda for each meeting was a sheet of paper with the six following questions:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. What is going well?
  4. Where can we improve?
  5. How can I help you?
  6. How can you help me?”

Continue reading.

Good leadership can be simple but it’s never easy.

And that’s just a small taste of what you’ll learn from Marshall and the rest of our world-class faculty at GILD in Palm Desert, California, from October 4-9. Have you registered yet?

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