July 2023 – Leadership That’s Legit

Companies give CEOs an enormous amount of authority to lead the people in their organizations.

But authority is a blunt instrument and new CEOs and business leaders should ‘resist authority’ from becoming their main leadership tool.  And while competence provides a leader with greater influence than simply authority, an article in Harvard Business Review finds that competence is ultimately fragile.  Instead, legitimacy is a more enduring quality for leaders to develop and maintain.

The article describes seven leadership behaviors that establish legitimacy:

  1. Communicating Clearly – with an engaging story to tell about the organization’s journey.
  2. Demonstrating Fairness – by being impartial, fair, and not showing favoritism.
  3. Behaving with Integrity – “walking the talk” and doing the right thing when tested.
  4. Showing Authenticity – through openness and by seeking input and feedback.
  5. Putting the Company First – and sacrificing themselves before they ask others to do so.
  6. Staying Grounded – while remaining humble and avoiding ‘structurally induced narcissism’.
  7. Maintaining a Sense of Purpose – and working in service of a greater goal while also producing business results.

Valuable insights and advice for new CEOs – and for leaders in any role.