Article: Quality of Leadership

The level of effectiveness of an organization's leader will determine the level of success of the organization.

A new type of leader

Edwin Mouriño, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President
Senior Consultant


"The quality of an organization’s performance cannot exceed the quality of its leadership."

James Farr, Ph.D.
Founder of our predecessor firm, Farr Associates

When James Farr made this statement several decades ago, he started a radical movement toward a new type of leader: The Self-Aware Leader. This concept, that the level of effectiveness of an organization’s leaders will determine the level of success of the organization, would go on to become a major cornerstone in the development of The BB&T Leadership Institute. Farr observed that organizations with weak leaders falter, especially when times get tough. Organizations with strong leaders thrive, especially when times get tough, and their weaker competition falters. The ultimate responsibility for enabling an organization to be successful through its workforce is its leadership. Who you are is how you lead.

Many leaders focus solely on the bottom line, without awareness of what drives it. While it is a valuable benchmark, leaders should focus on how behaviors and the organizational culture brought them to the point of success. Leaders play a crucial role in creating a healthy or caustic environment in their organization. It is through their actions or inactions that they demonstrate their “Executive Amplitude.” When a pebble is dropped in a lake, it creates a ripple. This is true about you as a leader. Your actions create ripples throughout your organization. The question is: Are the ripples you create healthy, motivating ripples that push others further toward the destination; or are they unhealthy, destructive ripples that push the organization off course?

A strong sense of self-awareness is key to leveraging your Executive Amplitude. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Am I bringing my best self to the workplace? In spite of some of the stress that comes with work and constant change, am I taking care of myself and modeling what I want from my employees?
  • Am I noticing my staff doing good things and recognizing them for it? Am I saying thank you? While feedback is good, it unfortunately has become code for “you’ve made a mistake.” Leaders need to consider giving more positive feedback.
  • Am I establishing an environment of trust? Trust is crucial in the workplace. Does your staff trust you to do the right thing for them and the organization?
  • Am I creating the right environment within my department or area of responsibility? Your workforce knows when you’re having a good or bad day. What am I amplifying into the environment?

Everyone lights up a room. Some, when they walk in. Others, when they walk out. Which one are you?

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