The Decisive Tests of Leadership
As most readers are aware, there is an abundance of information out there concerning leadership which can only prove how important it is to company growth. Dwight D. Eisenhower captured it perfectly by quoting, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.“
Every waking moment, as you get things done through others, those around you are testing what you do as a leader; more so if you are in senior management. Everyone from the founders, stakeholders, fellow managers, and employees are testing your leadership capabilities and the impact you have to the organization.
It is easy to lead willing people, they will follow your steps to the battlefield and anyone can do it. However, a real leader will lead different and challenging employees too. A genuine leader puts their best foot forward and leads every individual in their scope of influence well, without discriminating.
Decisive or acid tests will not only challenge your self-concept as a leader but also expose your influence at work. What decisive tests can differentiate between a genuine and a non-genuine leader?
Here are three exercises that I believe will test your leadership.
No Title Test
This is on a personal level, and you start by taking your own notes.
Imagine you have no title or rank at the office. Imagine you have no powers or authority to reward good performance or punish under performance. Will you still be influential? Will you still have followers?
If your answer is yes, you are a genuine leader. If no, you need to evaluate your leadership style.
To take it a step further, ask a few trusted colleagues the above questions. If they would still follow you, you are an authentic leader. If not, seek to find out why and how you can improve.
Vacant Chair Test
This test targets the entire management team and is best when tried on the senior management.
For example, a key member of the leadership team is unavailable for one year. The reasons for his or her absence can range from moving companies, taking charge of a new branch subsidiary in a different country, sick leave, or vacation leave. Whether the reason is good or bad, it does not affect the outcome of the test. His or her position is vacant and someone has to step in and take charge of that department.
The test is… what will you do?
- Will you move on with current responsibilities without caring what will happen in that department? Or
- Will you step in and take charge of the functions that you can?
Taking the second option shows your genuine concern for the company growth and not just what is spelled out in your job description. This test also shows how strong your collective leadership is as the whole management team.
This is a big one because it means putting your teams needs above your personal comfort. Another definition that brings this to perspective is the ability to give credit to others for your successes. Important to note is it does not mean denying your strengths.
Look back at an instance your team performed very well. When congratulated, did you take in the praise? Or did you take the opportunity to mention how your team’s efforts made it possible for you to win?
It is a character thing and once you get to understand its impact on your team morale, you will develop it.
These simple tests –no title, vacant chair, and humility test – will help you to look inward and understand yourself better. This understanding will guide you to pursue your leadership passion and establish meaningful relationships.
This blog was written by Dilip Barot, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Etech Global Services, and founder of Creative Choice Group, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Etech employs 2,700 team members across the US, India and Jamaica. If you would like to learn more about Etech, contact email@example.com for more information.”