When you think about some of the strongest leaders you’ve encountered or worked for in the past, what attributes did they exhibit? Honesty? Commitment, maybe? Was there anything in particular that set them apart from other managers you worked with?
I’m betting if you put your top 5 leaders together, and thought about why you placed them on that list, you’d find that despite having their own ideas (and perhaps quirks) on how best to manage their team, they likely share similar characteristics, traits, and values.
That’s the great thing about leadership.
Great leaders come in all different shapes and sizes with equally different personalities, but there are a few core principles that are common among all of them.
It is widely agreed that ALL great leaders create a thriving culture where their team members are:
- Afforded time and space to grow professionally
- Motivated to the point they have no desire to leave the company
- Given attractive career prospects
- Confident to generate and share ideas with the rest of the team
There is an effective self-assessment system for analyzing your leadership skills which (as the title of the post suggests) is commonly known as The 5 P’s of Leadership Excellence.
Whether you’re a seasoned manager, are looking to start your own company, or have climbed the corporate ladder to your first managerial position, the 5 P’s of Leadership provides a consistent framework to assess and improve your management skills.
Table of Content
What are the 5 P’s of Leadership?
The 5 P’s of leadership are:
- Personal Attributes
#1 Personal Attributes
A leader’s personal attributes or principles refer to their individual characteristics, personality, traits, and skill set. Although centuries of research into leadership has shown personal attributes can vary between people, there are 3 core attributes shared by all:
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in a team member’s shoes to better understand their thoughts, viewpoints, and reactions to different situations. I’m sure you can think back to at least one moment in your career where a leader demonstrated empathy for your situation?
Perhaps understanding how problems away from work were affecting performance? Or how the internal bureaucracy at the company made it difficult for you to complete an assignment on time?
Having empathy allows you to build a stronger relationship with team members as they feel you understand their specific situation.
Being respectful is about listening. Your team wants to be heard and understood, and by showing a genuine interest in what they have to say, you’re again going to strengthen those relationships and build trust.
Now you don’t necessarily have to agree with what they say, but you do have to take the time to listen before weighing in with your own point of view. You’ll find your team often has a lot of experience from previous roles that you can draw upon to help make better decisions.
Great leadership and clear communication go hand-in-hand. The ability to communicate effectively to your team, whether that’s delegating tasks, through coaching, or leading a team meeting is extremely important.
Finding your own voice and avoiding “corporate speak” goes a long way in improving your authenticity and sincerity. Trying to be someone you are not comes across as phony (and nobody wants to follow a phony) so essentially, try to be yourself!
Your personal attributes will also reflect the core principles that define what it means to be a member of your team. How will they communicate with clients, office visitors, and by extension anyone coming into contact with your brand?
These values must be communicated clearly to your team and be considered when interviewing new candidates.
The position pillar of the self-analysis model analyzes whether or not, as a leader, you were able to use your position of power to positively impact your team.
For example, some members of your team might be interested in furthering their knowledge of a specific tool or field. As a manager, you are in a position of power to make that happen. You could talk to human resources, finances, or your superior to pull the necessary strings and secure the funding to enroll them on a course.
Another example might be helping team members fulfill their career aspirations. Perhaps after an initial discussion, you discover they’d like to shift their career direction from say, sales over to marketing. Were you able to use your position to facilitate that move?
The hierarchical order of most institutions means you are often privileged to certain information your team is not. In some cases, you may not be able to share that information, but there will be times that you can (and should). This could include long-term plans for the company, how your specific team fits into that larger plan, shifts in strategy, etc.
By hoarding this information you appear untrustworthy and risk creating a barrier between yourself and the team. It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t abuse your position to fast-track “favorites” either.
Purpose is about finding out the “why” behind what you do. Many companies do this by defining their mission statement – an official summary of the aims and values of the business and the greater impact they hope to have on the world.
As a leader, it’s your job to unite your team around this common purpose. The strategy and vision you put in place are what motivate your team to achieve their specific goals.
A great example of someone who demonstrated purposeful leadership was Steve Jobs. His long-term vision was to:
“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
Jobs was absolutely relentless in its pursuit. The passion, drive, and commitment he exuberated energized his team to fulfill this “greater purpose” and turn Apple into one of the most successful technology brands of all time.
If you can instill this feeling of purpose within your team, you’ll find they’ll be far more likely not just to hit their goals, but provide a greater service to your clients. Looking at your current team, do you think they’d be able to settle on the company’s (or team’s) mission statement? Do you feel like the last time you addressed the team they left energized and united around a common goal?
Now that we’ve defined the purpose behind “what” we are going to be doing, it’s time to look at the “how”. Where does each member of your team fit into the larger picture? What’s the specific role they are going to play to move the team closer to its objectives?
Building a framework and set of processes for your team to follow provides clarity over expected results, performance, and the direction of the team as a whole.
Great business leaders are also agile and can adapt processes in response to external pressures on the team. This pressure could be applied from other teams within the company (graphic designers and copywriters are particularly susceptible to this) or from external evolving market demands.
As a leader, you’ll need to be flexible to account for these unforeseen changes while ensuring your team is still able to perform as expected.
Leaders will always be assessed on the overall performance of their team. This refers to both the goals of the company and those set to individual members of your team.
If you were able to achieve the objectives set for you by your superiors, it’s likely you instilled purpose and effective processes within your team. Without them, it simply wouldn’t be possible.
However, you could still have achieved those goals while falling short of the promises made to your team. Did you spend enough time focusing on individual growth and listening to what they had to say? Have you taken their long-term career aspirations into serious consideration?
To round it up
Monitoring your performance as a manager against the 5 P’s of leadership is crucial if you’re to gain the trust of your employees, buy-in to your long-term vision, and most importantly, deliver results.
How would you rate your managerial style of leadership against this framework? Is this something you’ve used with effect in the past? Or have you developed an alternative managerial framework to work from?
Let us know in the comments below