When there is a natural alignment of personal and company goals, both the leader and the company are pushing in the same direction and a sort of business synergy occurs. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner studied the characteristics of admired leaders in their classic book “The Leadership Challenge.” They found that the top characteristics of admired leaders were honesty, vision, and competence. Leaders are always being tested on whether they have the integrity, competence, and vision to run a team or company. People will follow leaders when they believe the leaders have the business acumen and talent to succeed, and they believe the leaders are trustworthy.
Competence doesn’t mean brilliance. In fact, Kouzes and Posner found that intelligence ranked low on their list of characteristics. You don’t have to be the smartest person in your organization. Competence means you are reasonably smart (this is up to genetics) and you are constantly learning and growing (this is in your control). People want to know you try hard, make good decisions, and constantly learn. They want to know you are decisive.
The workforce also wants to know that the company’s success takes precedence over the leaders’ personal goals. They want to know that you and the other leaders believe that your personal goals and objectives are best met when the business succeeds.
Nothing is worse than working for a manager who believes his own success is separate from the company’s success. If you were an employee, where should your loyalties lie? Do you support the manager’s agenda or the company’s agenda? Even worse, you have to question whether your manager’s behaviors are appropriate. He seems to be getting ahead by acting this way. Should you follow suit? The old adage that the best way to succeed is to find somebody already successful and copy his methods seems to apply. But does it?