Executive Leadership Coaching

What Distinguishes High-Performing Leaders from Average Ones?

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review presented research that shows the leadership performance is based less on leadership competencies, and more on discrete, daily routines that are utilized to drive personal and organizational effectiveness.  My work in working with senior leaders supports that.  Here's why:

Managerial skill and leadership competency traditionally have been the focus of leadership development interventions, but today’s increasing complex and dynamic world demands a different type of leadership performance. It makes sense that meeting those demands via effective habits is what distinguish average leaders from those that are high-performing. 

These habits include time management practices for personal effectiveness, but go far beyond that to address the context of the organization they work in.  At one company, these included how leaders spent their time in the field, in one-on-one meetings, and in cross team meetings.  These might include performance management habits (outside of the annual formal sit-down) such as daily informal chats on the status of key projects, or scheduled monthly team reviews that keep both projects and team engagement on track. 

Implementing new habits to improve performance is just as much about you as it is about the organization you work in.  It is impacted by the rewards systems, performance measurement processes, and the communication culture.  

What does this mean for you? Think about your own habits and those of the highest-performing people around you.  

  • In what areas do you feel you perform at your best?  
  • What do other leaders in your organization do really well-- and what you can learn from that?
  • What habits would be supported by the existing organizational culture? 
  • Talk to your team and ask them: what habits would help them improve their performance and engagement?

Implementing habits to support performance is a powerful way to redefine your leadership.