The Inner 4 P's of Leadership

In my recent blogs, I have been advocating a leadership framework based on the 3 Ps of People, Planning, andPerformance. Everything around leadership begins withPeople. There is no leader without followers. Followers need to know what direction to go. That takes orchestrating and facilitating Planning. Carrying out the plan requires integrating and executing to achieve the desired results. People follow positive results, which broadly is all aboutPerformance. The 3 Ps from a leadership perspective are what I would call “outer” things; the actions, interactions, and results from the leader dealing with his/her outer world. What about the inner world of the leader? What makes the leader behave, act, and respond to this outer world?

Let me advocate another simple framework based on 4 Inner Ps: Purpose, Persuasions, Personality, and Proficiencies. In my book Develop a Leadership Plan: Become a Great Leader, Purpose is a fundamental driver for the individual in journeying through life. Many people have approaches to helping develop personal purpose or missions such as Stephen Covey or John Demartini. My approach is simple and basic based on three categories: job development, personal development, and social development. Job development is all about career areas: types of companies, types of jobs, types of work environment, and wealth creation from working. Personal development involves physical, mental, and spiritual development. The last area of social relations includes interactions with spouse, significant other, family and friends, your involvement in associations and community activities, your membership in religious organization and so forth. There are different priorities that emerge in pursuing one’s Purpose in life among these three categories that drive behavior. It is worth the time spent to further develop your personal purpose.

Persuasions are deep rooted beliefs, feelings, needs, perceptions, values, morals and traits that influence how you behave and act in the outer world. They persuade you in acting a certain way. This is johari window kind of stuff:

The beliefs, perceptions, and values create a filter or bias in dealing with the outer world bringing judgment in how to behave. Values in particular are quite important in setting priorities for behavior. It is often surprising to find that people have not really thought through their values and what is important to them. But needs can rearrange these value priorities. You may well have a value of not to steal. But if you are starving to death, you may override that value. These Persuasions form your character. Things like trustworthiness, respect, and fairness. In many respects, character becomes your license to operate as a leader.

Personality is generally much easier to read thanPersuasions and typically fall in the Arena block of the johari window. Personality has many different aspects to it. Things like being introverted or extroverted, funny or serious, generally positive or negative, energetic or lethargic, and so forth. Of course, there are various theories on personality and tests to measure different characteristics such as Myers Briggs which are useful in understanding an individual. Sometimes, we have personality quirks that can fatal leadership flaws. One should try to address any such quirks. For sake of simplicity, I would put leadership styles under Personality. Are you a participative type leader, authoritarian, or consultative? Do you have more concern for people or production? Are you flexible depending on the situation or is your approach highly consistent? Are you team based or more of a boss? Obviously, Personality has a strong impact on behavior.

Proficiencies are an individual’s capabilities and skills. Basic intelligence and physical capabilities have an underlying impact but these must turn into proficiencies such as the ability to solve problems, to vision, to influence, and so forth. They can be technical, physical, professional, or interpersonal skills. Emotional IQ would fall under interpersonal skills. Decision making skills, facilitators skills, organizing and planning skills are some key ones for managerial and leadership roles. Knowledge plays a role in developing and improving proficiencies as does experience and practice. Just like the other three elements, Proficiencies have a strong impact on actions and behaviors in the outer world.

We are complex because it is the interaction of Purpose, Persuasions, Personality, and Proficiencies that drive our behavior and actions. Understanding one element is only looking at part of the inner self that impacts behavior. But, by focusing on each element in working to make improvements and enhancements, we can improve our overall leadership performance. If we do this in concert with our understanding of the 3 Ps of Leadership from the outer world perspective, we can become a great leader.

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