Truly effective leadership is more difficult than ever.  Trends like globalization, intermeshing of cultures, hyper-innovation in technology, intergenerational/diverse workforces and the ever-present forum of social media have introduced complexities and challenges in leadership through which past generations never had to navigate.  How do leaders go beyond their own limitations to be effective?  How do leaders go beyond their own generational understandings, their own comfort zones and uncertainties to lead through these minefields?

A leadership concept called Intelligent Leadership by John Mattone (Steve Jobs’ executive coach) offers a model by which leaders can unlock and unleash their full potential to lead and transform organizations.  This model focuses holistically on the leader by helping them understand and optimize their inter-related inner-core and outer-core competencies.  The inner-core is composed of beliefs, values, strengths and is demonstrated in emotions, behavioral tendencies and thoughts, ultimately reflecting a person’s character.  The inner-core  is not about “who you are” but rather is a leading indicator that predicts what “you can and will do.” It directly impacts outer-core competencies ( critical thinking, decision making, strategic thinking, to name a few), which determine how one “shows up” in the workplace.  It’s important to understand both a person’s inner and outer cores and how they are related.  By better understanding and developing both, leaders can intelligently tap into their most powerful leadership style—and affect the culture and success of their organizations.

Strengthening Inner-Core to Improve Leadership

When leaders truly assess and understand their inner-core, it becomes an unlock for authentic, powerful self-mastery and leadership.  By examining and understanding one’s deepest values, beliefs, self-concept, thoughts, and behavioral tendencies, leaders gain insight into their core character and understand why they think/act the way they do.  Understanding the why behind their actions unlocks the ability to break through limiting beliefs to drive excellence in their outer core competencies and skills.  As a result, leaders are able to make lasting changes and improvements on their road to leadership greatness. 

With an honest assessment and understanding of one’s inner core, leaders can follow a process to develop it further that requires these critical steps:

  1. Knowing the difference between your immediate and ultimate values
  2. Understanding your personal hierarchy of values
  3. Understanding how your hierarchy of values deviates from or aligns with the deeper elements of your character
  4. Setting goals for sustaining strengths while addressing development needs that are aligned with your ultimate values

By following these steps, leaders not only improve their inner core and potential to lead others, but improve upon their outer-core competencies as well.

Outer-Core Competencies to Accelerate Performance

Outer-core competencies a leader must possess include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Strategic thinking
  • Emotional leadership
  • Communication
  • Talent leadership
  • Team leadership
  • Change leadership
  • Drive for results

How well a leader executes across these skills determines how they “show up” in the organization.  The stronger the inner-core, the better a leader can –and will intentionally develop and execute– outer-core competencies.  

When leaders understand and develop both cores, it accelerates their capability (what they can do), commitment  level (what they will do) and their connectedness (what they must do).  It unleashes their full potential to lead and inspire others to create a culture of personal accountability, excellence and success.

Great leaders are not born; they are developed, equipped and cultivated.  Intelligent Leadership is for everyone—as it is designed to enhance an individual’s own unique values, beliefs, character, and behavioral tendencies.  Every person has an innate ability to grow, learn and improve.  But individuals must choose and commit to a path of understanding, growth and learning.  Leadership opportunities abound!  Blue Skies Strategy Coaching is certified at the master level for Intelligent Leadership Coaching.  We welcome the opportunity to work with individuals committed to improving their leadership performance and effectiveness.