Results Based Leadership

Quotations from luminaries whether in business, sports, medicine, law, or politics can inspire and clarify. A great quote is concise and crisp, capturing a thought or idea in an entirely new way.

Great quotes can speak directly into our own unique situations. One quote from Peter Drucker on leadership said ‘Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.’ Of course, he is right about getting results, but in my own view Drucker leaves something on the table for debate.

Boards often discuss the performance of the CEO. In one instance the executive had done a marvelous job getting results, but in the process had alienated a large number of people, including many on the senior leadership team. The CULTURE created by the leader was about getting results, and that culture included a good amount of fear and intimidation created by a dictatorial ‘theory X’ management style.

Leadership is about so much more than results. An effective leader can get great results AND build a culture of trust, respect, with care for the human element. When leaders really listen to their team members, being receptive when they present their problems, they build trust and respect, and the member will want to do great things because he/she feels connected and valued. If the team does not trust and respect the leader due to that leader creating a culture of fear and intimidation, the leader is ineffective and needs to change, or be changed.

Drucker is right when he says ‘effective leadership is not about…being liked’, but in my view great results can be obtained without sacrificing trust and respect. A leader that does not have the respect of his/her subordinates is no leader at all.
It reminds me of another great leader from another century, Theodore Roosevelt, who said ‘People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.’ Well said, Mr. President.

I’d like to hear your thoughts.