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Leadership Development that Works

Posted on March 27, 2012 By Jake White

There are thousands of books and articles on leadership development. Most of them are subjective fluff. If you are looking for a leadership model with research rigor and practical application, I recommend Zenger|Folkman. Their book, The Extraordinary Leader, may be the only leadership development book you'll ever need.

Leadership development from 'The Extraordinary Leader' shared by Torch LMS

Based on over 200,000 360-feedback assessments correlated with various business metrics, Zenger and Folkman were able to identify what characteristics lead to extraordinary results. To summarize their model:

  • There are 16 competencies that can correlate with being an Extraordinary Leader (a leader who gets amazing results)
  • Leaders do not need to develop all of these traits but should discover which of these they already possess and work on developing 3-5 of these strengths
  • Don't focus on your weaknesses, just work on mastering 3-5 strengths (of the 16 competencies)
  • An overpowering strength will cover up perceived weaknesses (called the "halo effect")
  • However, there are some weaknesses--"Fatal Flaws"--that can have the opposite effect (sometimes called the "horn effect") and will overpower any perceived strengths
  • There are 5 "Fatal Flaws" in this model, which, if present, must be dealt with before moving on to develop strengths
  • Leaders need feedback to find out their strengths (or fatal flaws) and should set goals to develop strengths with a coach or mentor

Zenger|Folkman has several excellent leadership development programs which include a 360-feedback tool, exceptional workshops, and materials, and offer coaching services focused on leadership development. I have seen this program in action and the results that come from it. It works!

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