Supervisory Leadership

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How would you describe the habits of highly effective managers?

Over twenty years ago, I did the first of my studies into what especially effective supervisory leaders do that separates them from their less effective peers. I call these folks "supervisory leaders" to emphasize that their primary impact is dealing with people.

One way that I'm different than other "leadership" writers and speakers because I see leadership as a set of behaviors. It's not traits or abilities so much that set great leaders apart as it is what they do. Specifically leadership is the set of behaviors that influences a group to move effectively toward a goal.

I call the excellent ones "Three Star Supervisory Leaders" because they've gotten a gold star from each of three important constituencies. Their bosses think they're great. Their subordinates think they're great. And their peers think they're great. After looking at those Three Star leaders for a while now, I've identified the following ten behaviors that set them apart.

  1. Three Star Supervisory Leaders show up a lot.
  2. Three Star Supervisory Leaders communicate constantly.
  3. Three Star Supervisory Leaders are realistic about the present, but optimistic about the future.
  4. Three Star Supervisory Leaders rehearse mentally.
  5. Three Star Supervisory Leaders get the important things done.
  6. Three Star Supervisory Leaders take enough time.
  7. Three Star Supervisory Leaders manage the consequences of behavior.
  8. Three Star Supervisory Leaders subscribe to the dinosaur principle.
  9. Three Star Supervisory Leaders do most of their work in the cracks in the system.
  10. Three Star Supervisory Leaders critique their own Supervisory Leadership performance.


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