Unleash Your Leadership Greatness
by Jim Bandrowski

unleash leadership greatnessAmplify leadership impact
Amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is more important than ever for leaders at all levels of organizations to know how to amplify their leadership impact and business results. This can improve financial performance now, and position your company for its next growth wave.

Hundreds of articles have been published on the differences between leaders and managers. But what distinguishes great leaders from good ones? In my study of remarkable leaders over the last fifteen years, I have found that they, among other things, push two extremes to the maximum.

Unleash creativity
At the positive extreme, extraordinary leaders set lofty stretch goals to elevate everyone's thinking "out of the box," unleash the creativity of their organizations, think in terms of an ideal vision and strategy, and communicate optimism that breakthrough results can be achieved. In executing strategy, they lead with passion and purpose, constantly sell the benefits of change, and lavish positive reinforcement on whoever is aligned and moving forward. The average leader may do some of these, but with much less vigor.

Express the consequences of not changing
At the constructively negative extreme, great leaders dig through the "floor of the box" to embrace "the brutal facts of reality" as Jim Collins calls them. They drill for root causes of performance issues, identify and remove risks, and supplement the benefits of change by clearly expressing the consequences of not changing. In addition, they are deeply compassionate about the pains of partners and customers to uncover unmet market needs which become the fuel for innovation. Average leaders don't feel or see these unmet needs, or if they do, they believe they are impossible to solve so they ignore them in favor of the industry status quo.

Let me give you a brief example of an extraordinary leader who operates superbly at both the positive and constructively negative extremes. Steve Jobs hatches new products in conversations that go something like this: "What do we hate? Cell phones. What do we have to make? A cell phone with a Mac inside." The rest is history. Notice the extreme thinking on the dark side (what we hate) and the light side (what we want to do about it) in the conception of the iPhone.

But while great leaders leap higher and think deeper than average ones, they are also more centered when it is time to be. I believe that "in the box thinking" gets a bad rap. My research has shown that there's a time to be out the box, and a time to be in it. This may seem counterintuitive, but when making decisions, crystallizing a plan, and making promises to Wall Street, extraordinary leaders are squarely in the box - balanced and neutral in their thinking. They equally weigh pros versus cons, rewards versus risks, and probability of success versus failure. It is their previous cycling between negative and positive extremes that provides their menu of innovative options from which they choose. In decision making, it is no time to fly high in the light side, or wallow in the risk-averse dark side. Webvan, Time Warner's purchase of AOL, and credit default swaps are all the result of "out of the box" decision making when management really should have been in the box.

Remarkable leaders have Intellectual and Emotional Amplitude
Amplitude is the technical term for the measure of the height or depth of a wave and determines the brightness or light, the loudness of sound, the power of electricity, and the strength and intensity of just about every other phenomena in the world. It is also in the vernacular of X-Game judges and spectators exclaiming how much "air" skiers, snowboarders, BMX bikers, etc., get off of their jumps. Remarkable leaders have far more Intellectual Amplitude and Emotional Amplitude, as I have coined these characteristics, than average leaders. Yet when it is time to be balanced both intellectually and emotionally, they are able to do so, while average leaders are not. President Obama, for example, is a master at this, showing grace under pressure.

Unfortunately, many people are in the box when they should be out of it, and out of the box when they should be in it. The "box," by the way, is a low amplitude. In my work with organizations, I can use a tool called the Leadership Amplitude Assessment. It helps leaders and their employees measure their amplitude and uncover opportunities for maximizing and flexing their amplitude to optimize innovation, decision making and execution.

Unleash your organization's Innovation Amplitude
Amplitude mastery is the single thing that differentiates remarkable leaders and organizations from good ones. This concept not only applies to the effectiveness of leadership style, but is also increases the results you get in strategic planning, marketing, process improvement, human resource development, change leadership, coaching, and just about everything else that's important to your success. It can help you lead your team or your entire organization out of the box. Your understanding and application of Leadership Amplitude can help unleash your organization's Innovation Amplitude, and enable you to achieve remarkable financial results.
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