Should you judge a leader by the team?


Sep 09, 2021


No longer charged with the singular focus of meeting financial goals, more than ever, today’s leaders have much to contend with.  In addition to demonstrating bottom line results, they are evaluated on company culture, staff retention and engagement, employee opinion, and customer satisfaction. So, should you judge a leader by the team?

Peter Berry Consultancy (PBC) Managing Director, Peter Berry thinks we should! “Leadership is about driving results, but it is the leader’s team that delivers those results, so it makes sense that we should judge the leader by their team.”

It takes experience, professional development and ongoing practice to hone the skills required by a leader to build effective teams. Skill alone does not make a leader - the competencies required for a lawyer to win a case, a finance manager to oversee a merger, or an engineer to mastermind a complex design, are not the same as those required to run a business, win new clients or most importantly, manage people and teams effectively.

With career progression, potential managers need new competencies in developing strategy, building teams and driving engagement. Generally, a potential leader must negotiate a change in focus from operations to strategy – working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it.

PBC research into what the best leaders look like found that the most effective leaders create high performing teams that shape and improve the employee and customer experience. Higher levels of engagement deliver stronger bottom line outcomes, including higher staff retention rates.

The leader’s reputation, or how the leader is perceived by others has a significant impact on team performance, which in turns affects the leader’s reputation in a continuous cycle. Team performance and culture can be measured by PBC’s High Performing Team Assessment (HPTA) – a diagnostic tool that enables team members to provide feedback about the effectiveness of their team centred around key characteristics that have been shown to promote team performance.

Teams play a critical role in executing strategy, meeting key performance indicators, and delivering organisation goals, through collaboration and a shared vision and purpose.

In order for a transition to leadership to be successful, the leader must start with true self-awareness of his or her strengths and areas for improvement. According to Peter Berry, “Being a better leader means being a better learner.”

Leadership competency is driven by personality, intelligence, experience and behaviour choices. To best measure, understand and improve leadership, Hogan personality assessments should be used in conjunction with Hogan 360 assessments.

Hogan 360 assessments are invaluable to enhance a leader’s self-awareness and development, providing useful information on performance and reputation based on feedback from managers, peers and direct reports.

Our research shows that the key to becoming an effective leader that is able to lead highly effective teams is focused on four competencies

1. Achievement focus

These leaders are competitive, assertive and energetic with a drive to succeed. They set high performance expectations and drive results through their influencing and negotiation skills.

2. Inspiring

Leaders demonstrate passion to make a difference, motivating and inspiring others to share their vision. They make a concerted effort to improve morale through their positive attitude, creating a pleasant working environment. They are also customer focused

3. Strategic

These visionary leaders are focused on long-term opportunities and sharing their vision. They seek continuous improvement and often develop new and original ideas.

4. Emotional intelligence (EQ)

High EQ leaders are even-keeled remaining calm and managing their emotions through stressful situations. They have high self-awareness and a willingness to improve and with excellent people skills, they know how to make people feel valued. Research shows that EQ can impact financial performance.

Strong leadership skills drive strategy, team performance, employee engagement, culture and ultimately organisational performance. The focus on strategy and people needs to be connected by understanding that people deliver results and engagement is not an end in itself but the means to delivering superior results. The leader’s team is the core driver of performance and the ultimate measure of a leader’s success.

For over 30 years, PBC has been using an evidence-based approach to leadership assessment and development to ensure future leaders drive strategic and sustainable success in their organisations. Our team of qualified organisation psychologists and executive coaches work with businesses large and small to create tailored leader development programs. To learn more about leadership and teams, download our whitepaper: Judge the leader by their team.

Download the whitepaper

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