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Recently I read somewhere, that I should make notes of what I read and review them from time to time. I decided to give it a try, since I read a lot and I think making such notes will be for me a way of remembering best ideas, quotes, or whatever from my books and magazines. I also decided to share those notes with you, in edited form as some have gotten pretty long. In many cases I copied whole passages without noting the page numbers, which is against good reference practices, but of course I will list title and author of a book (or article) where I got the notes from.

I do that with hope that at least some of you will reach for mentioned magazine or book when you will find my notes interesting. Ach, one more thing: small number of notes do not mean that the book or magazine was not good…

Here is what I noted from the article “Decoding leadership: What really matters” by Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan:

Telling CEOs these days that leadership drives performance is a bit like saying that oxygen is necessary to breathe. Over 90 percent of CEOs are already planning to increase investment in leadership development because they see it as the single most important human-capital issue their organizations face.

Our most research suggests that a small subset of leadership skills closely correlates with leadership success, particularly among frontline leaders.

What we found was that leaders in organizations with high-quality leadership teams typically displayed 4 of the 20 possible types of behaviour. […]Those 4 explained 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness:

  • Solving problems effectively. The process that precedes decision-making is problem solving, when information is gathered, analysed and considered.
  • Operation with a strong results orientation. Leaders with a strong results orientation tend to emphasise the importance of efficiency and productivity and to prioritize the highest-value work.
  • Seeking different perspectives. This trait is conspicuous in managers who monitor trends affecting organizations, grasp changes in the environment, encourage employees to contribute ideas that could improve performance, accurately differentiate between important and unimportant issues, and give appropriate weight to stakeholder concerns.
  • Supporting others. Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel.

For organizations investing in the development of their future leaders, prioritizing these four areas is a good place to start.

I personally find that leadership many parts experience, some patience, some character and only a little training. Unless that training was done in form of mentoring by someone already possessing qualities we seek. I also think that not everyone can be a good leader, despite notion that it can be learned. First item in the list above is grounded in experience, third in part as well. Second and fourth is a character trait. Look for people who already have those things and let them work. Teaching someone to be result oriented when he is process oriented makes not that much sense… at least to me. I guess that this is why most of the funds spent on leadership courses are wasted.