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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The True Test of Leadership

An excerpt from the Address of President-Elect John F. Kennedy Delivered to a Joint Convention of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The State House, Boston, January 9, 1961:

'For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us--recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state--our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

First, were we truly men of courage--with the courage to stand up to one's enemies--and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one's associates--the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

Secondly, were we truly men of judgment--with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past--of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others--with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?

Third, were we truly men of integrity--men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them--men who believed in us--men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

Finally, were we truly men of dedication--with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest.'

Positive Leadership - Success, Heroes and Role Models

Jean Driscoll is a six-time Boston Marathon winner in the wheelchair division. Here is what she says about 'success':

'Some people think that successful persons are born that way. I'm here to tell you that a champion is someone who has fallen off the horse a dozen times and gotten back on the horse a dozen times. Successful people never give up.'

In the USA, Kurt Warner is a hero to many. In 1995, he was bagging groceries in Iowa for $5.50 an hour. Five years later, he earned the National Football League's Most Valuable Player Award and led his team to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. Here is his story:

Warner is still playing in the NFL today. His 'bags-to-riches' story is as inspiring as the song 'Hero' by Mariah Carey.


54% of US Employees Feel Their Senior Leadership Team Is Effective

Research conducted by the Kenexa Research Institute, evaluated workers' views of their organisation's senior leadership team. According to the latest research, an organisation's senior leadership team has a significant impact on its employees' overall opinions of the company and engagement levels, which have been linked to both earnings per share and total shareholder return.

The latest results indicate that the global rating of senior leadership's effectiveness is 51%. Employees in India (69%), Brazil (59%) and the United States (54%) report the highest ratings of leadership effectiveness followed by those in China (53%) and Canada (52%). Workers in Japan (33%) reported the lowest ratings.

Employees' evaluations of their organisation's leadership team are driven by the extent to which senior managers gain employees' confidence through their decisions, actions and communications, keep employees well informed regarding company direction, and are seen as having the ability to deal with the organisation's challenges.

Employees in the United States believe their senior leadership teams are effective because leadership is viewed as trustworthy, employees are kept well-informed, leadership demonstrates that quality and improvement are important, the company strives to serve its multiple stakeholders and employees have confidence in the future of the organisation.

For all workers studied, a strong organisational leadership team has a significant impact on its employees' engagement levels. Employee engagement is the extent to which employees are motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are willing to apply discretionary effort to accomplishing tasks important to the achievement of organisational goals. Engaged employees favorably rate their pride in their organisation, willingness to recommend it as a place to work and their overall job satisfaction.

Additionally, employees with positive opinions of their leadership team state a much higher intention to stay with the organisation versus those who are dissatisfied. Those who favourably rate their leadership teams are also much more likely to have confidence in the organisation's future and feel that they have a promising future with the company.