How to Make Your Undeniable Mark as a Leader

This post is part of our 2016 Lead Change Group Guest Blogger Series. Today we are pleased to introduce you to speaker, coach, and author JoAnn Corley.

I start every leadership group coaching session with these two questions:

  1. What is leadership?
  2. What’s the point of it?

Those questions usually generate looks of confusion, blank stares and the painful expression of “why are you asking that?”

Many in my coaching groups have been leaders for years – they are generally not newbies. Do you find that curious that those who’ve been leaders for years cannot quickly and precisely articulate what their title represents or what role they’ve been playing?

At the time of this writing, an Amazon leadership search netted 181,311hits – breathtaking. With all the information available on leadership, you would think those who lead would be clear on what it is and what they do.

And yet, I believe too much information has created the opposite affect – a performance fog. The lack of precision and specifics, as well as a deficit of leaders who can competently lead and train other leaders, has muddled the would be success and effectiveness of many (and here in is another compelling reason for leadership training).

If you were to strip down all of the discussion about leadership and extract all information and wisdom from the thousands of books written about it, you could draw one simple conclusion: the point of being a leader is to get intended results.

In the context of business that can be translated into being a meaningful business partner -- providing a return on investment for an agreed salary utilizing available resources.

Sounds simple enough right? Well it’s simple only if there is a tangible, measurable way to accomplish it.

Over the past few years, through my leadership coaching initiatives, I’ve made it my mission, to create a tangible framework that when utilized creates an undeniable leadership mark -- one characterized by consistently achieving substantial, needed results.

I’ve named the framework “results-based leadership”, which sounds a bit redundant when you think about. But I purposely use this phrase to make the distinction that leaders exist to get desired, needed outcomes, not just to be present or busy.

Here is an introduction to the 7 part results-based leadership framework:

  1. Identify the results – what do you want and expect? Be clear, targeted and specific. This is commonly known as create a vision. But I don’t want to use that term because I think that sounds vague.
  1. Have daily targets – translate those results into daily targets. It utilizes a key performance management principle, “tight accountability equals higher performance.”
  1. Consistently (daily, frequently) communicate expected results, in constructive, creative, coaching/teaching, positive, inspiring, motivating ways. The key tip -- communicate verbally and visually.
  1. Hold team members accountable - continually lead and coach to outcomes. Here’s where style really matters. The way in which accountability is conducted can be used to harness and fuel motivation, nurture engagement, fine tune focus, develop capabilities while fostering trust, respect, appreciation, and sense of value.
  1. Consistently assess results within targeted time frames. If desired results are not occurring, leaders need to know why and address the deficit in a timely manner. It’s amazing what can be discovered about process and people when keen attention is paid to why results are or are not being met within a certain time span.
  1. Coach the gaps - provide feedback in a way that teaches and trains for improved performance. This is where alignment occurs – it’s when leaders take the opportunity to identify behaviors needed, matching them to actions and/or processes to increase the probability of hitting the mark.
  1. For as much as you can, measure, track, share results in #, %, $. There’s a big difference in the psychology of motivation when specific metrics or measurements are used to define achievement. Here’s an example:
  • “Congratulations team, we’ve improved production this week.”
  • “Congratulations team, We’ve improved production 25% over last week.”
  • “Congratulations team, our production went from 50% to 75% in just 2 weeks.

Which statement(s) has the greater impact?

Now, the style in which these elements are executed matter – a collaborative coaching style is an essential ingredient to successful implementation. A dictatorial, oppressive style will have an adverse affect.

With this practical approach, our leadership mark really can be substantial, measurable and undeniable. It can address needs from both an executive leadership and human resource perspective. Tested within a variety of leadership challenges, it has proven to provide extraordinary success!

JoAnn Corley is a passionate champion of human potential with a focus on leadership and organizational success. She has the crazy belief that we can create our best leaders and businesses from the best of our human selves. Her overall mission is to help companies put the human back in human resource though holistic talent management.

She is a sought-after leadership speaker, coach and author, helping thousands from a variety of industries gain their professional edge by getting results, thinking creatively, working more collaboratively, and leading more effectively.

She is consistently named to the top 100 most social HR & Management experts to follow and has been featured or quoted by NBC., CNBC, Management Business Daily, SHRM, ATD, Harvard Business Review,, Huffington Post.


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