Are you a better leader than the next guy or gal? Comparing one leader to the next is how people often think and judge a person’s leadership capability. It is not surprising that people think this way given the European history of kings and queens, the Genghis Khans of the world, and so forth. The “Great Man” leadership perspective still permeates our underlying thinking of leadership today, even though most thoughtful leaders and scholars on leadership have discarded the tenets of the great man theory.
I personally believe that the continual ranking of leaders one against the other has remnants of this past that really impedes leadership development today. Such ranking is like taking a class being graded under a curve system. The teacher picks a cutoff point on the curve for As, Bs, and so forth. It’s all about the leader’s capabilities and the competition with others. I would be one of the first to say that leadership capabilities are critical to a leader’s success, but is that the way to judge leaders?
There are so many different leadership personalities and styles that can be effective and results often depend on the situation and circumstances. In leadership development, I think it is much preferred to work on improving a leaders performance as the focus. That means assessing a person’s leadership capability depends continually on evaluating results.
Back to our class room, if everyone knows all the information and can accurately answer all the questions then everyone can get an A. In other words, everyone can be a great leader. On the other hand, if the results for everyone is poor, then the assessment of their leadership capabilities is also poor. In either case, it doesn’t really matter where they ranked.
How do you improve the results? Most likely, leaders will need to work together trying to help one another, rather than beat each other up in a ranking shoot out. There are many more aspects and dimensions to be considered, but broadly speaking my suggestion is to focus on improving results, and you might be surprised who rises to produce those great results.