No matter their expertise, the results they achieve or their experience – if an executive does not have the ability to inspire a spirit of collaboration and respect amongst the team and enterprise, he/she won’t hold a mantle of leadership for long.
Every day I work to help business leaders understand the value and importance of developing a holistic mastery of the six zones, or qualities, of 21st century leadership (shown in the diagram on the right).
This truth was wonderfully illustrated in a great New York Times article that I recently read about the dismissal of a long-time Apple executive.
While recognized for his talents and technology vision that echoed that of Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall, the executive in charge of the company’s mobile software efforts and retail stores, was let go due to his divisive personality and inability to work with others.
The complaints of Forstall were numerous. He refused to offer apologies in the face of mistakes, he couldn’t be in the same room with colleagues and his ego inhibited any meaningful team work. Simply put, while he may have been strong in the business zone, he didn’t have a command of the people zone.
A command of the people zone of leadership is essentially an executive’s license to lead. It equips leaders with the skills to connect with others, encourage collaboration and guide action toward shared goals. No one can go it alone and leaders must realize that their success is based on their ability to motivate and mobilize the people they work with in a meaningful and sustained way.
When leaders ignore the people zone, the workplace can quickly become antagonistic, contentious and counter-productive.
While Forstall could boast his technology vision and experience, he couldn’t deliver on culture, team work or empathy, making it necessary for the company to make a change in leadership that would benefit the entire team.
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida