News & Insights about Closing the Leadership Gender Gap

4 Most Important Leadership Behaviors & The Missing 33%™

   

We love McKinsey's research. Their recent article, Decoding Leadership: What Really Matters identifies 4 key leadership behaviors that correlate most strongly with leadership effectiveness.

Here are the 4 and our commentary about the connection to The Missing 33% and our definition of leadership (Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others):

  • Solving problems effectively. The process that precedes decision making is problem solving, when information is gathered, analyzed, and considered. This is deceptively difficult to get right, yet it is a key input into decision making for major issues (such as M&A) as well as daily ones (such as how to handle a team dispute).
Having good problem-solving skills speaks to "using the greatness in you/personal greatness," but having good problem-solving skills isn't enough. In order to "get it right," managers have to know the business, strategic and financial context in which the options are being assessed. Because it speaks to enhancing business, strategic and financial acumen, The Missing 33% is a core concept for enhancing the leadership skills of women.
  • Operating with a strong results orientation. Leadership is about not only developing and communicating a vision and setting objectives but also following through to achieve results. Leaders with a strong results orientation tend to emphasize the importance of efficiency and productivity and to prioritize the highest-value work.
Operating with a strong results orientation is part of the definition of "achieving and sustaining extraordinary outcomes." Again, with its emphasis on business, strategic and financial acumen, The Missing 33% is essential to keeping managers and their teams focused on the business, its strategy and key financial targets. BUT someone can be "results-oriented" and not be known as having business, strategic and financial acumen. We hear evidence of this frequently when executives discuss barriers to women's advancement. They make comments like, "Most women are so focused on their job that they don’t think at the strategic level."  This is why it's not enough to understand the business, where it's headed and their role in getting it there. Women, especially because we aren't expected to have business, strategic and financial acumen, have to learn to lead with their business acumen - in other words, learn to Speak the Language of Power™.
  • Seeking different perspectives. This trait is conspicuous in managers who monitor trends affecting organizations, grasp changes in the environment, encourage employees to contribute ideas that could improve performance, accurately differentiate between important and unimportant issues, and give the appropriate weight to stakeholder concerns. Leaders who do well on this dimension typically base their decisions on sound analysis and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.
Women are expected to be great at interpesonal and team skills, including "seeking different perspectives." This ability to "engage the greatness in others" is perceived to be our greatest area of strength and it's terrific to see two of the most important skills falling into this category. But not all perspectives are equal, and the ability to differentiate between important and unimportant issues, give appropriate weight to stakeholder concerns depends on one's business, strategic and financial acumen. Again, The Missing 33% matters!

  • Supporting others. Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel. By showing authenticity and a sincere interest in those around them, they build trust and inspire and help colleagues to overcome challenges. They intervene in group work to promote organizational efficiency, allaying unwarranted fears about external threats and preventing the energy of employees from dissipating into internal conflict.

Again, women are expected to be great at the interpersonal/team skill of supporting others (engaging the greatness in others). As with seeking different perspectives, not all support is equally important. Notice the focus on organizational efficiency, allaying unwarranted fears and reducing nonproductive conflict. All of this requires on the skills embedded in The Missing 33%!

We hope that you continue to emphasize the importance of The Missing 33% to the women in your organization and to develop these areas to enhance your leadership effectiveness.

Lead ON!

Susan

Susan L. Colantuono, CEO
|  +1-401-789-0441  |  www.LeadingWomen.biz

Closing the Gender Gap: TED.com 

Author
: No Ceiling, No Walls and Make the Most of Mentoring
"Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain
extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others." 
 
Susan L. Colantuono


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Leading Women is one of the world's premier consulting firms for companies committed to achieving goals for women’s advancement. Its proprietary research is the basis for innovative
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Topics: The Missing 33%

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