Archive for December, 2008

Over-Estimating the impact on Organization Performance of Individual Leadership Styles.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Individual leadership style is a significant factor in organization performance. There is evidence that when the organization has performed well above expectations the CEO’s leadership is often considered to be the major factor accounting for the performance. When the organization has performed significantly below expectations the CEO’s leadership is also considered to be the major factor for the performance outcome. However when organization performance is consistent with median expectations there is a more balanced attribution of causes. In this regard there is less emphasis on the CEO’s leadership and a greater emphasis on factors beyond the direct control of the individual leader.


The total organisation context is very complex.  Some people cope with this by filtering out as much complexity as possible and focus on a single factor – often that factor is the current preferred organisation intervention. Currently leadership coaching is the fastest growing preferred performance intervention.


When considering the impact of leadership, and how to improve the leadership culture, it is important to take a holistic approach and consider all the critical factors that impact on organisation performance – particularly those factors that are beyond the control of individual leaders.


Factors that may be outside the direct control of an individual leader include:


  • Economic environment
  • Organization culture – a leader is both informed by the culture and acts on the culture
  • Industrial environment
  • Employee’s behaviour outside the control of the leader (eg, a key group of old-timers who cannot be dismissed actively undermining the leader)
  • Industry competition
  • Financial health of the organisation (eg, non-profit charity organisations with limited financial resources to attract and retain top performers)


In previous posts I have discussed the problems created by Change Silos (How to Avoid Change Silos – posted on 18th July 2008).  Leadership programs need to be considered and implemented within the total context of the organisation. This means all the factors that inform individual leadership styles need to be evaluated.


Moreover, consistent with organization renewal principals, the leadership program needs to be ongoing and continually adjusted and synchronised with the ongoing adjustments and synchronisations of the other components of the organisation’s internal and external environment.



If you would like more information on how to develop an effective leadership program within an organization renewal framework call Dallas Burgess 61 2 99573511 or visit and send an email to Dallas.




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Below I have shared several of the articles listed in the newsletter, along with a few more that I searched out, and i’ve provided a little insight into each view there of them