This article first appeared on Tuesday May 17, 2016, on the Legal Executive Institute blog site, which is curated by Thomson Reuters.
One of my favorite leadership books is The Extraordinary Leader by John Zenger and Joe Folkman. In this book, the authors offer a number of findings from their own empirical research about what makes leaders effective, i.e., what makes constituents actual follow leaders.
One of their principal conclusions is that constituents follow leaders who consistently demonstrate three to five strengths, particularly when their mastery of those strengths is so formidable that observers rate them in the top 10%. For example, a leader who is a really crisp decision-maker, who also is very patient even under stress, and who is also a superb listener, will gain a large following.
Their research reveals an important corollary as well: When a leader consistently demonstrates this kind of mastery of strengths, constituents will overlook a leader’s weaknesses.