How Better Leaders Make for a Better World, By Urs Koenig PhD, MBA

Here is a bold claim for you:

I strongly believe that the world would be a better place if each leader would go through Redpoint’s stakeholder based coaching process (originally designed by Marshall Goldsmith).

Let me explain: Imagine every politician from Obama down, every corporate CEO from Messrs. Balmer and Branson down, every small business owner, community leader, doctor and teacher asking their direct reports, peers, clients, patients and students these two simple questions:

  1. What am I doing well?
  2. What do I need to improve?

And then picking one, and only one thing, to get better at, sharing this goal with these same people, asking for regular feedback (say every month) on their progress. After reflecting on this feedback ,the leaders then work towards changing their behavior. Then, after six and 12 months, asking each of the same people to anonymously assess their progress.

Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Why aren’t more people doing this? In fact, why isn’t everyone doing this? Here are the top two reasons we find (and no, it’s not really the lack of money or time, it almost never is!):

  1. Leaders think they are already excellent and don’t believe they need to get better. They are notoriously overconfident and sometime even arrogant.
  2. Leaders are afraid to openly admit that they want and need to improve and are leery of the feedback they might get. They are afraid of the truth.

And that in my humble opinion is part of the reason why so many organizations and companies are in such a sorry state.

I believe that if we had only leaders who have (1) the humility to admit that they are not perfect and want and need to improve,  (2) had the guts and healthy self esteem to do so publicly to their teams and (3) the follow through to ask for regular feedback months after months, we would have better governments, better businesses and better organizations. In short: a better world. Hence: Better Leaders, Better World!

Now I am the first one to admit that what I am proposing here is not realistic. And yes, we would have some capacity issues at Redpoint :). In the meantime however, we are chipping away at making the world a better place one leadership coaching client at a time.

Here is what some of our current clients are working on:

  • Delegate more effectively
  • Treat others with respect
  • Become a better coach and mentor
  • Hold others accountable
  • Utilize emotions effectively/not use anger as a management tool
  • Listen to different points of view with an open mind before giving my opinion
  • Address conflict in a constructive and timely manner

And here is what I personally am working on this year:

  • Improve my ability to prioritize and to say ‘No’

What is it you want and need to improve this year to make you a stronger leader and ultimately make the world a better place? Better yet, what would your co-workers say is the one improvement you should make that would have the greatest impact on your organization’s health?

Give me a call (206.372.8626) or shoot me an email at urs@redpointcoaching.com and let’s chat!

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