Three Dimensions Of Leadership Development: People, Process And Priorities

THE STUDY OF LEADERSHIP traditionally starts by focusing on the leader’s personal awareness of themselves and their style in interacting with others. From first line to top line executives, mastering yourself and your interactions permits effective communication, clear performance expectations, and teamwork. The second stage concentrates on process knowledge and skills to produce value. Work can only be accomplished when key skills are applied. Both of the two leadership dimensions succeed in a relatively stable environment since interpersonal relationship principles are relatively stable and skill requirements typically change slowly over time.

A third dimension recently became an essential leadership component. It requires agility in setting wise and timely direction or goals based on changing circumstances and situations. The ability of leaders to conduct a situational triage mirrors what medical professionals employ when handling a crisis.

They scan all of the patients’ issues, weigh the alternatives and set a course of action based on handling the most critical cases first. Now that change and crises regularly impact those outside the medical profession, all leaders need to learn how to conduct a triage to ensure that critical steps take priority.

[bctt tweet=”The ability to capture changing realities that produce stellar results defines a truly successful executive.” via=”no”]

However, keeping these three in balance is similar to walking a tightrope. It is hard and challenging but it is necessary to move forward. When imbalance surfaces, the problem can be diagnosed by examining how it has impacted the organization.

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  1. When people and personal connections swamp process and priorities, the result is the perception that favoritism, politics, cliques and pet projects drive decision making.
  2. If process inordinately drives decision making at the cost of people and priorities, the evidence is that bureaucracy and red tape are drowning out innovation, service, collaboration, and productivity.
  3. When priority setting unrealistically prevails over people and process, the result is disengagement, turnover, and productivity issues.[/message]

The best way to ensure leaders effectively employ and balance all three essential leadership dimensions is through transparent and open communication, mutual respect and a reward system that recognizes initiative.

What have you done or observed that establishes an effective balance between people, process, and priorities?

Dr. Mary Lippitt
Dr. Mary Lippitthttp://www.enterprisemgt.com
Dr. Mary Lippitt is an award-winning author of "Brilliant or Blunder: 6 Ways Leaders Navigate Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Complexity.” She founded Enterprise Management Ltd. in 1984 to provide leaders with practical and effective solutions to navigate the modern business climate using situational mastery. Dr. Lippitt is a thought leader and speaker on executing change, optimal leadership, and situational analysis. She currently teaches in the MBA program at the University of South Florida. For comments, please email mlippitt@enterprisemgt.com.
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Larry Tyler

Kind of like a scale to measure and balance.

Chris Pehura

Excellent points Mary. I’d add support systems for leaders too. I know they technically can be part of processes, but just having someone to talk to can really resolve a lot of problems.

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