How do you become a more effective leader?
One of the increasingly popular themes regarding the use of the Predictive Index® is the pursuit of “leadership excellence” and striving to become a more effective leader. Keep in mind that all the leadership training in the world won’t necessarily create a great leader, and leadership is both a choice and a personal journey that requires extra care and attention. However, simply understanding the PI can help you with many aspects, such as relationship and team building, but only through self-awareness and guidance with coaching can leaders can peel through their illusions to achieve greater levels of success.
Motivation and behaviors are more critical than training.
Although our formal educations may emphasize training and theoretical learning, in ancient times it was believed that the building blocks of character were shaped by our experience and behaviors. Performance consists of a mixture of individual competence and motivation, and both are necessary for leadership excellence, but the motivation piece is the more critical one. The competence to do something without the requisite motivation will always prove inadequate.
Predictive Index builds self-awareness of ourselves—although we’re never 100%.
Behaviorally, PI® helps us to “know thyself” and see our own motivations, and it is a proven vehicle to thinking critically and objectively about ourselves. PI provides us with the information on this most important piece of humans, our motives and needs. Historically, knowing oneself has never led us to believe we have finally “arrived;” rather “arriving” has been written about as a life-long pursuit and the moment we think we’re “there,” we prove that we’re not there! Courageous leaders have a sense of humility to go down the road of self-awareness with the PI as a tool.
Coaching is a self-awareness building process that also helps leaders develop specific skills. Starting from a base normally beginning with a 360⁰ assessment and complemented with interviews of colleagues or others, we contrast the view of the individual regarding themselves with the view others hold of them, developed around specific aspects of how leadership is expressed. We often find gaps; the leader may have a view of himself that is complimentary, yet it isn’t affirmed by others. In this way, we prime a dialogue with the leader about his performance. How do we account for the variances between these various “constituencies” as they relate to each other, and how can the leader have a view of self that is so at odds with the world around them? Almost always the answer is; the self they know or project is a mental image known only to them and is not representative of the reality that others confront in living life with them. With coaching, the leader becomes self-aware of these discrepancies and can progress from there.
Leaders must get in tune with their objective selves.
Leaders have the primary burden of meeting others’ needs and shaping those colleagues. Leaders can change the ideas that people have of them by doing something different than they are doing now. That means examining critically how they think, express themselves, and imagine themselves in the world. That is why choosing to lead others and doing so effectively is a choice. Over a period of time, normally 6 – 8 months in duration, the coach assists the willing leader participant with a sort of “peeling away” of ideas and thinking that won’t bear critical scrutiny to others in the world. This peeling away emerges in the give and take and events, situations, conflict and the stuff of life, and it is examined in the light of the “objective self” of the PI. It will always debunk some of the false notions and thinking that predominate in the mind and form the basis for struggles and challenges with others. Through the use of the PI and other’s perceptions, coaches expose fundamental patterns of distorted thinking and assist in correcting not only the misadjusted thinking but all that proceeds from it as a result with other people. We critically examine what we know to be true of large numbers of people with particular behavioral patterns and challenge the leader to consider sometimes uncomfortable or disconcerting things about how they deal with others that reflect attitudes and values often not acknowledged except by behavioral expressions.
Leaders must not tolerate self-deception.
I encourage the leaders I coach to adopt the most self-critical approach to understanding their own motives, behaviors, and effects on others and to completely own the tenor of relationship with the men and women around them. I don’t permit leaders to avoid any unpleasantness about themselves, which the PI might help to objectify, if different than they believe or imagine.
Of course, the Predictive Index is only a tool and a vehicle to an increased level of objectivity about people, but it is a very good tool for use with large numbers of people who are interested in beginning the road to more critical and objective discovery of aspects of the true self. In combination with competency, coaching guidance and self-awareness building with PI, leadership excellence and performance can be achieved.
Article by Michael Wohl.