According to research and results of surveys and profiles of over a half a million executives, those leaders who excel in business performance also have high levels of Achieving.

In The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP), the Achieving summary dimension measures the extent to which the leader offers purposeful, visionary, goal-oriented, and decisive leadership.

Recall that there are five competencies that lead to optimal leadership:

  1. Relating (Cornerstone)
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Authenticity (Bedrock)
  4. Systems Awareness
  5. Achieving (Cornerstone)

The LCP defines the Achieving competency as follows:

Strategic Focus: For high business performance, it’s not enough for leaders to set goals. They must set the right focus and communicate with purpose and vision so that people are inspired to contribute.

This requires attention to both tasks and relationships and the leadership agility to make adjustments where and when needed. For this, leaders must be able to make decisions in the midst of uncertainty, including during crises. A tall order, but a cornerstone competency for all leaders.

Mastery or Performance?

When we look at the research on achievement, we learn that an individual can be said to be “mastery” or “performance” oriented, based on whether their goal is to develop ability or to demonstrate it.

People with a “mastery” orientation believe that success is the result of effort and use of the appropriate strategies. Mastery oriented individuals strive to develop their understanding and competence at a task by exerting a high level of effort.

A mastery orientation has been shown to promote learning, which ultimately leads to high achievement and adjustment. For example, individuals with a mastery orientation are more intrinsically motivated to learn, use deeper cognitive strategies, and persist through challenge and failure.

On the other hand, people with a performance orientation believe that success is the result of superior ability and of surpassing one’s peers. Performance oriented individuals strive to outperform others and demonstrate their ability.. Performance orientation is predictive of negative affect, avoidance of challenge and poor achievement outcomes.

This research on achievement orientation is similar to studies done on mindset. An achievement orientation refers to how an individual interprets and reacts to tasks, resulting in different patterns of cognition, affect and behavior.

Mindset refers to an individual’s belief about oneself and one’s most basic qualities, such as talent, intelligence, and personality. What social scientists and psychologists have found is that a leader’s mindset may be key to high achieving.

That’s the subject of our next post: Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Stay tuned.

What about you, what do you think? As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached at 425-533-4330 or email, here or on LinkedIn.