Performance is not driven by capabilities.

It's driven by the actual impact leaders have.

For the past 100 years, researchers and consultants have been obsessed with capabilities and behaviours.

But the skills leaders need to have and the ways they need to behave vary in different situations. And what matters more than both is the actual impact you have on the people and processes around you.

This may sound obvious, but it involves a huge change in mindset.

For instance, it means whether someone is a caring leader is a lot less important than whether their team feels cared for. And that what matters is not whether someone is a motivational leader, but whether their team actually feel motivated.

Having a strong set of capabilities is one thing, but having a positive impact on others that enables your team to be more effective is quite another.

We know this because when you ask people to rate a leader’s behaviour, and then ask them to rate the leaders’ impact on them, you typically see a very different pattern of responses. For example, when you ask about behaviour, direct reports usually rate their manager 9-14% higher than their manager’s boss. But when you ask about impact, direct reports typically rate their manager 7-9% lower than the boss.

And high-performing leaders are rated significantly higher on every dimension of impact we have measured than lower-performing leaders.

So, if you really want to understand and optimise the performance of leaders and maximise the value they are able to create, you need to focus less on their inner capabilities, and more on the actual impact they have.

For more information on our research into the elements of impact most critical for performance, click here.

For information on the Leadership Impact 360 survey, click here.

If you’d like to discuss how your organisation can support its leaders to develop their impact, please use the form below to set up a free call.

And if you’re a leader interested in developing your Leadership Impact through coaching, click here.

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