Leadership Caffeine™-Full Contact Leadership

image of a coffee cupI love this quote in the January-February, 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review from a reader responding to an article on leadership that appeared several months earlier:

“Leadership is not something that is gained because of birth or tenure but rather something that is practiced in every moment of opportunity. It is truly 20% technique (tools, methods) and 80% actions (behaviors).” -J.C. Duarte, Director, Kaizen Institute of Singapore

Well said!

The most effective leaders I know enjoy and invest time honing their skills and techniques through training and education, but mostly, they focus on getting their hands dirty on the front lines with their team members.

At Least 11 Behaviors of Full Contact Leaders:

Full Contact Leaders…

1. Provide constant positive and constructive performance feedback.

2. Always help their team members understand how their individual priorities connect to the organization’s priorities.

3. View every individual or group encounter as an opportunity to assess and coach.

4. Never waste an opportunity to let someone learn something by doing something, including failing.

5. Teach. Daily. Through questions and by example or exposure.

6. Learn. Daily. Through self-study, but mostly through experimentation and reflection.

7. Push people hard to hone their strengths.

8. Constantly remind people of the firm’s values and the behaviors necessary to support those values. They also model those behaviors!

9. Kick ass when otherwise talented people around them grow complacent.

10. Build the collective belief of teams that their efforts will be THE difference between good and great or failure and success.

11. Care less about the milestones and momentary successes and more about helping their team move forward on the journey.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Leadership is indeed a full contact activity. There’s no book or course that will serve as a substitute for doing. Get up, get moving and mostly, get involved in exhibiting and living the behaviors described above.

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By | 2016-10-22T17:11:24+00:00 January 6th, 2013|Leadership, Leadership Caffeine|3 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


  1. Mark Allen Roberts January 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Great Post Art,

    This will be another of your posts I plan to share in my network.

    Far too often people in leadership positions fail to understand the difference between leadership and management. They try to “manage” people like you would control a machine. We manage processes and procedures but we must lead people.

    Leaders serve their teams and they do not look for an ass to kick or a throat to choke as I discuss in my blog post http://www.nosmokeandmirrors.com/2010/06/11/are-you-looking-for-%E2%80%9Can-ass-to-kick%E2%80%9D%E2%80%A6%E2%80%9D-throat-to-choke%E2%80%9D-or-a-solution-to-a-problem-there-is-a-difference/ . The servant leadership approach results in market leading organizations with low turnover, higher market multiplier valuations and bigger gross profits.

    And yet….so many ” manage” and not “lead”…. Why to do think this is such a big leap ?

    Great post


  2. Terry January 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing the quote from the HBR. Well said! Absolutely!

    Just one challenge. You say that leaders demonstrate the behaviours that support their organisation’s values. How does this fit with being authentic?

    • Art Petty January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Terry, thanks for reading and sharing. I must be fuzzy on the question. Not sure how showcasing behaviors that represent the firm’s values contradicts being authentic in style and approach. The values are bigger than the leader…they are the acceptable behaviors in the culture around ethics, talent development, accountability and so forth. Thanks, -Art

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