Manage for Performance  

Leadership Competencies

An organization needs a well defined set of leadership competencies, which it can share with their employees at all levels in terms of expectations. All roles need to demonstrate leadership, but not all leadership competencies are required by all roles. The level and intensity of leadership will change depending upon if you are demonstrating the same at individual level vs. managerial level vs. strategic level.


Manage for Performance


A leader sets clear goals, timelines, plans, and measures of success. He tracks the progress and keeps on working to achieve the planned targets. He works on all aspects of performance- Cost, timelines and Quality. He works on consistency, accuracy and reliability of performance.

Contributing at Individual Level

  • Creates adequately detailed action plans and timelines before starting tasks: A leader understands that one needs to sharpen the axe before cutting. He plans well, sets-up milestones & check-points and defines on what will be the completion criteria for each milestone. How much so ever small or large is that task, he will do some level of pre-thinking before getting onto the job.
  • Identifies success criteria and concrete measures before starting work on projects: A leader knows that a project or task is complete, when it meets the expectations of the stakeholders. A leader works on understanding on what is success from stakeholder’s perspective, and he pursues alignment on the same. He defines the completion criteria and success measures and shares it with all concerned. The success criteria are not only linked to timeliness. It will also include factors like quality, cost and scope.
  • Monitors performance or progress against plans: A leader informally and formally monitors his own performance against the plans in terms of cost, quality, time and scope. He shares the progress on regular basis with the stakeholders. He dispassionately shares the positive and negative variances.
  • Analyzes the performance and includes that analysis in future tasks: A leader analyzes the reasons on the areas of both over and below expectations. He alone or with the help of others, delves into the performance enables and barriers. He identifies his strengths and leverages it further. He also identifies his weaknesses and works on overcoming the same.
  • Anticipates, identifies, mitigates and manages the risks: A true leader is pro-active. He will use his own and other's experience to foresee the possible issues and risks. He will work on prioritizing the risks, work out the mitigation plans, seek pro-active help from the stakeholders, and highlight the risks to all concerned.
  • Builds the credibility and reliability: This is related to the 'quality' aspect of the performance. A leader will understand that its not only performance, but consistency of the performance which also counts. Stakeholders are not looking for the flash in the pan. A leader ensures that he builds his brand of being a 'solid' performer on delivering on all the projects. This also means that a leader takes-up aggressive but realistic goals. A leader understands that commitments by him are cascaded to his customer's customers. If he does not fulfill his commitment, his customers may loose credibility to their (customer's) customers.
  • Works on not only the end-result but also the in-process performance: A leader understands that its not only 'what was achieved?' but also 'how was it achieved?' He sets up the performance parameters on the quality of the process, methodology and approach.

Contributing at Managerial Level

  • Holds others accountable for planning before proceeding: A leader works on the team to ensure that team is accountable for planning. A leader will avoid planning for the team (though may support it). He works on making team taking the initiative to plan out their work. He tells the team that its not only the end-result but the systematic approach and planning, which also defines the success.
  • Coaches others to monitor performance and progress: A leader wants to minimize follow-up. He builds a sense of accountability with the team, and let them be their own check. He compels the team to pro-actively share the progress (and a lack of...) with him. He coaches the team to be dispassionate in reporting performance results.
  • Identifies concrete and meaningful metrics, and tracks against them, for team endeavors: A leader is hard-nosed for setting-up clear and detailed completion criteria (the project is completed), success criteria (the project completion has led to accomplishment of business objectives), cost objectives, end-quality objectives, timeliness objectives, scope objectives, in-process quality objectives etc. After establishing these measures of success, leader works on establishing a tracking and monitoring process.
  • Builds a participative environment: The leader builds a culture, where the he and the team discuss the issues and find solutions, which are acceptable to the stakeholders. Leader does it in way so that it does not take away the accountability from a team member. A leader will avoid creating a master-slave relationship with the employee, where a leader is always in a directive mode and employee is in 'order-taker'. A leader will encourage people to come out with the solutions
  • Coaches team to think through issues and risks: This is extension of the previous point. A leader does not want to spoon-feed his team. He will coach his team to identify and anticipate the risks. He will build capability in his team to think through the issues, find solutions, think laterally and work through barriers.
  • Works on the team to ensure consistency of performance: A leader is relentless in driving predictability and continuity of performance. A leader will not over-play the teams performance for a solitary accomplishment. As he appraises his team (or an employee), he places a high emphasis on consistency. A leader tells his team that every time team performs well, the expectations (or the bar) will go up and people have to work harder to maintain their level of credibility.
  • Coaches team efficient ways to become more effective and efficient: This is an extension of fostering innovation. A leader encourages his team to constantly find new ways to becomes cheaper, faster, better...He constantly push his team to improve upon the performance metrics. He trains his team on problem solving and quality management methods. He invests into business process management & other disciplines to improve the processes and systems.     

Contributing at Strategic Level

  • Builds performance-based rewards system: A leader establishes the performance management methods, rewards, salary hikes and promotions, where performance is a key factor. NOTE- Apart from performance, there may be some other factors like potential. Performance needs to be the most important factor in performance appraisal and rewards associated.
  • Creates an environment of accountability: A leader builds a culture where ownership and accountability percolates to the lowest level. Every person has some accountability, where the buck stops with him. A culture, where upward delegation is avoided. A culture, where the goal sheets clearly spell out the measures of success and completion criteria.
  • Identifies and implements enterprise or business level goals and measures: A leader works on creating enterprise level measures to ensure that all functions are working towards a collective set of goals and common strategy blueprint. He ensures that the goals are aligned, there are organization level synergies. A leader ensures that that enterprise or functional level goals are cascaded to lowers levels in a coherent manner.
  • Builds a culture where performance is measures driven: A leader builds metrics and quantified assessment of the performance. He eliminates the culture of appraising people on the basis of perceptions and impressions. A leader builds a culture where there is a greater focus on results and less emphasis on over-playing the achievements. He goes for 'numbers speak for themselves'.
  • Builds a culture of leadership: A leader will build a culture, where people are not only measured on the end result but also on how they achieved the results. This is all leadership is all about. A leader knows that the results give the immediate success and leadership provides long-term sustainability.
  • Champions an environment which encourages a holistic performance perspective: A leader will ensure that performance parameters place equal emphasis on cost, quality and timeliness. He ensures that an organization is not overly skewed in either direction and their is a level of optimization.