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  • David Spader

Don't Be Like 90% of Leaders In This Area

Updated: Apr 20

Most leaders and managers have a career filled with successes and achievements. Yet, it probably does not surprise you that most managers and leaders are not highly effective across the various types of situations they encounter. They tend to be great in a few areas. Good in others. And, poor in many remaining areas. Of course, the employees that work for them already know this. It is seen in the ongoing research citing low engagement, frustration and dissatisfaction in the workplace. Unfortunately, our research, and that of others,shows this pattern has remained unchanged over the last several decades. The sad part is that we now have proven solutions to ensure better individual and business success. Let’s look at three keys for understanding why this major performance problem exists and how you can resolve it!


Key Point #1: The first step is to understand why this problem exists. Essentially, it is a function of human nature. Most people are ‘creatures of habit’. They naturally do what they prefer, and are comfortable with, instead of doing what the situation requires. For instance, our research has shown that most managers use only 1 of the 5 types of approaches required to effectively address various types of situations. And, approximately 90% use only 2 of these 5 approaches effectively —meaning they will be less successful managing the other three types of situations. Their employees experience this as over-managing, under-managing, or simply mis-managing (using the correct approach in be in the wrong way).


Key Point #2: Even those who realize they need to be more effective often don’t know “What” to do and/or “How” to do it! Our research found that more than 3 out of 4 do NOT use a proven method or model to guide their leadership and management decisions and actions. This means they are managing by their instinct, gut or preference as mentioned above. Fortunately, we’ve also found high performers who consistently seek, and then apply this “know-how”. They are individuals who continually adapt, but do so using structured, conscious and repeatable approaches. They are using approaches that consistently deliver positive results in ways that are also satisfying for all involved. These high performing leaders and managers live in the ‘growth’ zone, not their ‘comfort’ zone that describes their lower performing colleagues.


Key Point #3: Our final insight is realizing that most high performing leaders effectively apply proven management and leadership models. The one we developed is called the Pro-daptive® Leadership Model. It has been researched, tested and refined through decades of working with individuals and businesses. The Pro-daptive® Leader uses three key practices and tools. The first is effective diagnosis of any situation with respect to favorability. The second is to identify the primary root cause of a situation in order to determine which of 3 possible solutions will be effective. And the third is to respond effectively by using the specific type of approach that matches what is requires to achieve the desired performance results!


In summary, the highest performing leaders and managers understand that they must push themselves outside their comfort zones to be effective. They then use a structured, proven and consistently effective way to help them determine both “what” to do and “how” to do it. Lastly, they apply a proven model (like this PRO-daptive®) to ensure they successfully diagnose the favorability of the situation, its root cause and the effective response. If you use these three actions it will propel you forward into the top 10% best leaders and managers!


This blog was written by Dr. Michael O’Connor and David Spader, co-authors of the Pro-daptive® Leadership-Management Model. Both have spent decades providing individuals, teams, and organizations with solutions that increase both Success and Satisfaction. This includes training programs, management and coaching tools, articles, and a forth-coming book on the topic. They can be reached at All-Win Leadership™, info@allwinleadership.com. Dr. O’Connor is the best-selling co-author of Managing By Values, The Leader Within and several other books, tools and resources.

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