The 5 Pillars of Leadership Success

In the wild, in a pack of dogs, there is one leader and a hierarchy of followers. If the leader of the pack is a stable and balanced leader, the pack will prosper. If the leader is unbalanced or unstable then either the pack will too become unstable, perhaps even chaotic or a challenge to leadership will emerge from another dog in the pack in an attempt to restore balance. With balance in the pack the whole pack is safe but with imbalance in the pack, all are at risk. All dogs in the pack have the ability to be the leader, some do it “naturally” and some would only do it under special circumstances. Those facts are what we call principles of nature – you don’t necessarily need to understand them but they apply all the same. The human race is, at its roots, a pack animal and all of us have the ability to be effective & balanced leaders – some of us do it naturally and some need a little guidance to help us be more effective. The 5 Pillars of Leadership Success was developed by Gary Homes, Managing Director of Changescape, following many years operating as leader and then by analysing the common traits of highly effective leaders. We can use the 5 Pillars of Leadership Success to add to our own personality or charisma to expedite our success.

This document summarises the 5 Pillars of Leadership Success and more information is contained in many of Changescape’s leadership courses.

Foundation: Understanding Who I Am

Great leaders know who they are – not by name or job title – that is only a surface representation of who we are. What you are is a name or job title or an accumulation of what you possess. These things change over time. Who we are is much more of a constant. Great leaders have a high degree of self-awareness of who they are, what is important to them and a deep understanding of the level of energy they possess and therefore project. And, in turn, of how that is perceived by others. Great leaders understand, build, project and maintain their personal brand.

Pillar #1: Establishing a Clarity of Purpose

Great leaders know why the organisation or group they head exists. Their purpose has meaning and is worthwhile to be a part of. This, in essence, is their Mission Statement. It is an anchor for the group that will stand the test of time. This Mission Statement will be succinct, worthy and memorable. It will serve as the driver for all objectives, plans and actions carried out by the group.

Pillar #2: Setting a Compelling Vision

Great leaders also have a compelling vision of where they (and their group) are going, when they will get there and how they will measure when they have arrived. The Vision will change – it has to. Once it is achieved, you need a new and more challenging vision. The vision is influenced by external factors: competitors, customers, and the economic climate.

Pillar #3: Operating Through a Set of Values

Great leaders operate through clear and consistent values: the principles they operate by or things they hold dear. Their values are not just a set of words but are reinforced - exhibited day in and day out - by the behaviours of the leader. Values tell us what is important.

Pillar #4: Agreeing Consistent Behaviours

Great leaders are clear about the behaviours that are essential within an organisation. Behaviours tell us how we will do what is important to us. Behaviours are the visible activities and outcomes of our values in action. The behaviours support our values. Without the behaviours, the values would crumble. We can’t implement values as these are concepts but we can implement behaviours that support our concepts and make them live.

Pillar #5: Deciding on Implementation Tactics

Great leaders have a clear understanding of the tactics required to make the journey towards success. This will start with passionate & compelling communications of the Purpose, Vision, Values & Behaviours. The next tactics are concerned a method of creating then cascading objectives & goals that will start and then continue the journey towards the Vision. The third set of tactics form the basis of building, developing, nurturing, motivating, rewarding and supporting the team who will make success happen. Leaders don’t make success happen but they do create an environment in which only success is possible and this success is delivered through the team. The fourth set of tactics form the control system of measuring progress through the journey, identifying what is working and what is not then making fine adjustments to the course but with the unerring clarity of the destination in mind.

Really great leaders ensure that they achieve the above in an egoless fashion, surrounding them with the best talent available, identifying successors and creating an entity that will survive their reign.

Author's Bio: 

Gary’s career started in IT in the mid-1970’s prior to moving into a project management role where he successfully delivered many projects within the Manufacturing and Retail business sectors.

In 1988, Gary changed career direction and moved into a consultancy role with Europe’s largest IT consulting firm, Cap Gemini where he worked for 11 years. While at Cap Gemini, Gary consulted and trained clients in the UK and overseas gaining experience of Financial Services, Airlines, Petrochemical and Pharmaceutical sectors in addition to the Manufacturing & Retail sectors he had already worked in.

Gary has experience of successfully leading businesses in Operations Director, Sales & Marketing Director and Managing Director roles and has operated at Director level since 1994.