1st Executive Blog

24 Mar The 5 Phases of a High Performing Leader

“A November 2020 McKinsey article entitled ‘Closing the capability gap in the time of COVID 19 draws attention to an evolved, blended way of building capability that focuses not just on learning but also the importance of behavioural changes that only come from regular, practical application of that knowledge.”

This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the 2021 Mindshop Business Leader Insights Report “Leadership Behaviours for High Performance”.

Mindshop is 1st Executive’s business advisory network and the source of most of our professional updating.

Following 2020 there has never been a greater need for business leaders to develop capability and to develop it quickly. Certainly in all of our advisory and coaching engagements in 2020 we working on two things:

· The need to fast track the development of leadership capability during a time of systemic change

· The need to find avenues to create additional capacity for leaders so that they could invest in the practicalities of building their own capabilities

In this annual report, business leaders from our global audience told us their 10 key capability needs:

· Coaching your team

· Insights on best practice from peers

· Implementation and project team skills

· Marketing and growth strategies

· Profit and efficiency skills

· Strategic planning skills

· Understanding emerging business trends

· Digital applications for productivity improvements

· Personal resilience

· Innovation skills

Obviously, different leaders have different needs when it comes to developing their capabilities. However this list almost sounds like the headings in an interview guide that we might have used in our Executive Search practice when identifying C Suite talent for a range of companies. The report also drills down into eight high-performance behaviours and eight foundational traits then challenges leaders to make positive change in response to a changing world and to progressively get a step ahead that change.

These foundational traits in particular, underpin the five identified phases in the development of a high performing Leader, these are:

1. Individual - Foundational skills. This is where the individual is seeking to build better leadership and problem-solving behaviours

2. Manager -Team Builder. This is where the leader has progressed to managing a high performing team effectively, and demonstrates that they can drive implementation and change effectively.

3. Coach - Coach/Mentor. This is where, leading by example, the leader coaches and develops their teams for high-performance, no longer "managing" the team's task outputs.

4. Leader – Strategist. Embracing the prior phases, the leader has developed real strength and is capable of developing and implementing strategies very effectively.

5. Role Model - Visionary Leader. In this role, the individual acts as a leader guiding the future direction of the organisation and acting as a role model for other leaders.

What is exciting about the learning from this survey is that a series of foundational traits support the development of the eight high-performance behaviours throughout this journey, progressively increasing the value of the leader to the organisation.

While we look forward to exploring these issues in more detail in the future, this is your chance to download a copy of the report, and also to view the video summary of the key findings.