The AMA Handbook of Leadership

By Marshall Goldsmith; John Baldoni et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10

Leadership's Silver Bullet: The Magic of Inspiration
John H. (Jack) ZengerEveryone recognizes that leadership is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon. Attempts to reduce it to one or two qualities or behaviors invariably are shown to be either incorrect or impractical, and ultimately fail. At the same time, it is also clear that not all behaviors that we have traditionally identified as being important elements of leadership are equal in their impact on key outcomes that we want and need leaders to produce.Our organization collects data about leaders and their behavior. We have recently amassed over 150,000 360degree feedback assessments pertaining to more than 11,000 leaders using a fairly standardized instrument. We know how leaders' behavior impacts the people who report to them. We also know what their subordinates wish their leaders did better. Additionally, we have extensive data about what drives the highest level of employee commitment and engagement.This chapter describes one big “aha!” that comes from an extensive analysis of these mounds of data. Simply put, the discovery is that there is one leadership behavior that escalates to the top of the pack. It is the behavior described as: “Inspires and motivates to high performance.” We have selected that behavior for a more intensive analysis, because it:
1. Best separates the top-performing leaders from those who are merely average, as well as identifies the leaders who are at the bottom of the distribution.

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