In a recent Harvard Business Review article (October 2013) Kevin Sharer talks about how he defined his expectations for leaders when he was CEO at Amgen.
Sharer explains how he and his senior leadership debated vigorously what it actually was they wanted Amgen leaders to do. He says, “We could have styled these must-haves as character traits or attributes. By casting them instead as behaviors, we underscored two messages: It isn’t worth much to have an attribute that you don’t display; and if you fall short of what the best leaders do, you can close that gap.”
Sharer further explains that specifically defining behaviors allows for a lot of style differences. You can have extroverted or introverted leaders; you can have each individual display their authentic self, without trying to mimic a desired style or approach.
For Sharer and Amgen, the list of highest order behaviors for leaders were:
- Consciously act as a role model
- Deliver strong results in the right way
- Build, develop, and lead empowered and diverse teams
- Motivate others with a vision for the future
Within each of these four domains Amgen had a list of more specific behaviors that could be used for selection, training and evaluation.
There is a lot of “wholehearted leadership” reflected in these behaviors. I often preach about the importance of modeling the way; people will learn more by what you do than what you say. Delivering results “in the right way” gets at the balance of what you achieve and how you achieve it. And developing “trust” in the future, having confidence in the future vision, is of course on of the top three drivers of employee engagement.
What behaviors do you expect of leaders?
Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. For insider tips and exclusive content, join his newsletter at kevinkruse.com.