Friday, April 30

A Leader's Inner Circle

Article Excerpt by Dr. John C. Maxwell

A leader's potential is determined by those closest to him or her.

Five questions to ask when forming your inner circle:

1. Do they display exemplary character in everything they do?

Deception eats away at a leadership team like cancer. Dishonesty on the part of one member of an inner circle can bring shame and disaster to all. Entire organizations have toppled from the misbehavior of one bad apple.

2. Do they bring complementary gifts to the table?
Imbalance within an inner circle can attune a leader's ear to only one side of an argument. When putting together an inner circle, prioritize diversity of personality and perspective. By doing so, you widen the range of your vision and the breadth of your influence.

3. Do they hold a strategic position and have influence within the organization?
Members of the inner circle must have the platform and influence to implement a leader's decisions. If they cannot be relied upon to execute a chosen strategy, then they shouldn't be entrusted with a spot on the leadership team. In addition, inviting uninfluential advisers into the inner circle disrupts the political balance of an organization. High performers suffer a motivational blow when they see a less deserving colleague granted special access to top leadership.

4. Do they add value to the organization and to the leader?
When considering someone for the inner circle, you should be able to articulate clearly the value they will bring. Ask yourself the following questions: What will they infuse into discussion? Where do they have expertise? What unique skills can they be counted on to bring to the table?

5. Do they positively impact other members of the inner circle?
If you've ever inhabited a house with a feuding husband and wife, then you can understand the need for leaders in close proximity to get along. Infighting saps energy and focus from a senior leader, forcing him or her to mediate conflicts with time that could be better spent elsewhere. Differences of opinion signal healthy debate, but personal animosities destroy a leadership team. Make sure members of your inner circle have the emotional intelligence to keep arguments from becoming too personal.

Read the entire article at Giant Impact.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn