Let’s say your company asks you to profile the perfect leader for the future of the business. If you were to design a list of qualities for optimal leadership, what would you include?

Fortunately you don’t have to do this list from scratch. Just Google it, right? Whoops, over 55 million listings, many of them selling products, books and services!

It seems a lot of people claim to have the definitive answer for what optimal leadership should look like. But wait, the ninth listing of search results is the book I use a lot in my consulting practice, it’s by Anderson and Adams on Mastering Leadership: An Integral Framework for Breakthrough Performance.

In fact, the search result takes you to page 92 of the book:

“Optimal leadership is highly Creative with strong and balanced Task and Relationship capability.”

I’ve written a lot about the difference between managers who have Reactive tendencies vs. those who are operating with a Creative form of mind. (See my posts here and here.)

Let’s get more specific about which leadership behaviors make up the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) of Creative mind. What would a leader have to pay attention to in order to manifest optimal leadership qualities?

To determine which behaviors are optimal for leaders, the creators of the LCP asked 50,000 managers worldwide to evaluate the kind of leadership that would enable their company to thrive.

The results are grouped into five key categories determined by decades of research in the literature. These categories are on a continuum of Relationship to Task revealed to be most effective for leaders revealed in the classic 1950’s study by The Ohio State on leadership.

These Creative leadership competencies are beautifully integrated into the circle in a way that quickly reveals a leader’s tendency to be focused on one end of the spectrum over another.  These categories of behaviors are Relating, Self-awareness, Authenticity, Systems Awareness and Achieving and are brilliant in their simplicity.

If we plot optimal leadership behaviors onto the LCP circle graph, it shows high scores shaded in beige like the following:

The top half of the LCP circle maps creative competencies that contribute to a leader’s effectiveness. These are key leadership behaviors based on internal assumptions that lead to high fulfillment, high achievement leadership.

They can be broken down further as follows:

(Source: The Leadership Circle)

I will reveal the “Ineffective styles” on the lower half of the circle in  a future post  but it all works together elegantly to reveal  leadership as a whole person.  We need to examine ineffective styles just as much or more than effective competencies.

What do you see as the qualities essential for optimal leadership in your organization? What isn’t on this list that you believe should be for your business? What’s not being fulfilled by leadership and should be an urgent necessity?

And the most important questions of all: How effective is your leadership?  How do you know if you haven’t measured it?

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached at 425-533-4330 or email Marty@VondrellLeadership.com, here or on LinkedIn.