These are a set of leadership polarities that are foundational to the decisions leaders make and actions they take, directly affecting others.
The Leadership KPI measures these six polarities:
Leaders get things done. They move fast to make progress against an ever-growing list of to-dos and initiatives. But this focus on action, when overused, drives an “I’m so busy” culture that leaves no time or space for the strategic reflection vital to innovation and growth. When leaders navigate Action::Reflection, the importance of taking action and getting things done is matched by the importance of stepping back and taking time to reflect on what is and what could be. This drives the strategic action leaders
need for sustained success.
The ability to lead change is a leadership imperative. Change management, leading transformation, and being a change leader are written about everywhere—without it, leaders and their organizations become stagnant and fall behind. However, when leaders focus too much on change and neglect to focus on stability, order, and continuity, they can create chaos and instability in the organization. Being able to navigate Stability::Change is central to a leader’s ability to preserve the core as they simultaneously work to stimulate progress – it’s how great leaders make great organizations.
To excel, leaders need to set a high bar and push people to accomplish bigger and better things. While challenge like this is necessary to achieve excellence, it quickly pushes people too hard, too far, and too fast if it is not mixed with the support and reassurance people need while reaching for new heights. To achieve both excellence and growth, leaders must provide Challenge::Support. This means daring people to reach higher while also providing the encouragement and instilling the confidence needed to clear the high bar that’s been set.
There are two big things people look for in leaders—do you have the ability, skills, and strength to lead me where we’re going, and will you care about and support me as a person while we get there? Showing up strong and competent is crucial. Leaders need to be confident with their expertise and ideas. But without warmth, care, and connection, confidence becomes arrogance and limits leadership effectiveness. Exude Competence::Exude Warmth is about showing up strong and assured while also having humility and finding ways to connect.
We all have jobs to do—things to check off the list. And we need to do them in a way that doesn’t leave people trampled and bruised. While leaders shouldn’t be everyone’s best friend or let people off the hook for the things they’re accountable for, they do have to connect with the people they work with. Leaders need to balance their drive to achieve with their concern for the people they lead. Sustainable results requires hitting targets while caring for those doing the work by navigating Task Focus::Relationship Focus.
If leaders didn’t provide direction, no one would be in charge, nothing would get accomplished, and organizations would be in disarray. However, while maintaining order is an important leadership characteristic, taking it too far leads to micromanagement and over-controlling which have negative impacts on engagement and creativity. To succeed, leaders need to provide control and direction while also empowering their people to think and do on their own. This blending of Direct::Empower provides employees clear direction and the freedom to make decisions.
Which of these polarities would you benefit from bringing more of a Both/And mindset, heartset and skillset to?
Polarities honor the complexity of a leader’s world
Both/And leadership requires more than changing behaviors – it also means adopting the mindsets that sustain those behaviors.
The Leadership KPI consists of three rings demonstrating how the six leadership polarities shape the mindsets that drive capabilities needed to deliver on three vital leadership responsibilities.
The Responsibility Ring
The Responsibility Ring summarizes three of the essential results leaders must deliver on in any organization.
The Capability Ring
The Capability Ring contains six of the leadership behaviors needed to deliver on the results of the outer ring.
The Polarity Ring
The Polarity Ring contains the poles of six of the key polarities leaders have to navigate. They act like a mindset and contribute to or detract from their ability to demonstrate the behaviors in the middle ring.
Developing how leaders see and who they become
The KPI is a behavioral and mindset model. It defines specific behaviors that can be observed, and therefore, can be practiced, adjusted, and learned. It also gets underneath the behavior to illuminate the mindset driving the action or inaction.
The KPI provides multiple doorways for a leader and their KPI Certified coach to work on making behavioral adjustments today while uncovering mindsets that could be standing in the way of future growth and development.
“I had the good fortune to have a 360-degree view of my leadership using the KPI model. I was admittedly skeptical about yet another instrument, having done MBTI, DISC, and some other popular HR moves. The handling of the KPI became a powerful experiential tool for me to understand where my actions were out of balance with my priorities and engendered a “felt sense” of overusing traits like being a caregiver, competent contributor, or taking more than 100% responsibility in my commitments. This work has impacted not only my professional sphere but my home life as well. My growth in this role has proceeded much faster and with greater sophistication thanks to its impact.”Saneeve Bala, MD, MPH, VP Regulatory Affairs, North American and Latin America, BeiGene
Want to take the KPI?
Explore your relationship to 6 of the key polarities that shape a leader’s life.