What is your Leadership Quotient?
What, exactly, is a quotient? The dictionary definition is: the degree to which a specific quality or characteristic exists.
Most of are familiar with the IQ—Intelligence Quotient. Later researchers developed various measures of EQ—Emotional Quotient, or more commonly, Emotional Intelligence. Recently, this trend has been extended to the concept of LQ—or Leadership Quotient, the measure of one’s leadership capability. What is an LQ? Does it matter?
The oldest of these three measures is the well-known IQ. It measures cognitive ability and assigns a value to those who complete the test. This value describes how our measured intelligence falls within the population as a whole, with 100 being the average score.
EQ is often defined as Emotional Intelligence: a measure of “the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.” Businesses and other major organizations have begun to consider EQ in potential hires, particularly leaders. They claim the EQ is a better predictor of executive success than other measures, including IQ.
Now we find another “Q” has joined the quotient revolution within emerging leadership suggesting there is an important measure of one’s ability to lead well: the Leadership Quotient, or LQ.
What is a Leadership Quotient, Anyway?
A wide variety of researchers, authors and organizations have developed ways to measure the elusive LQ. Steven Covey’s Leadership Quotient is the most popular. His is a measure of ability against the four main imperatives of a leadership: to develop trust, clarify purpose, align systems and unleash talent.
Others have proposed a formula that makes the Leadership Quotient a sum of the competence, character and capability (LQ=IQ+EQ+XQ). Still others propose Leadership Quotient as a sum of morality + power. One creative entrepreneur is selling an LQ app: discover your LQ with the help of face-reading technology! Now there’s an app I need.
These efforts are well-intentioned and can be valuable. At LDG we know the value of others’ experience, particularly in developing leaders. We have two important cautions, however, to the current LQ trend:
Caution #1: The “Leadership Quotient,” indeed all of the “Quotients” have the drawback of someone else defining us. We are measured, categorized and defined within someone else’s model of how the world works. How many lives have experienced long-term negative effects from a poor IQ “score”? Or how many have developed a pompous ego because of an exceptionally high IQ?
In either case, we have allowed someone else to define us, through a well-intentioned measure, in ways that can have profound impacts on how we view ourselves and these can be unhealthy.
My own mother had all of us measured for IQ but would never divulge to us our “number.” To this day, I don’t know if her motivation was to protect our self-image from a low score or prevent an inflated ego from a high score. (My own self-assessment is the former was the most probable, but the latter the more dangerous.)
In all of our many model-making fads, we should not fall victim to someone else defining us and putting us into a box that prevents us from living out all we are designed to be.
Caution #2: The many Quotients, particularly the Leadership Quotient, measure what we do as leaders; Covey’s four imperatives are all active. At Leadership Design Group, we are much more interested in designing leaders according to what they should be. Read on…
Leadership Quotient Revisited
Have you ever noted how fleeting is an opportunity to lead?
In 220 years, the average term of a US President has been just over 5 years. The average CEO term is a little over 8 years. An NFL head coaching tenure is just 4.4 years on average. (That number includes some very long tenures. I’d be interested in the median number.) A typical church pastor moves on after just 3.6 years. In the Air Force, our key leadership posts turned over at a pace of just less than 2 years.
Dwight Eisenhower spent 16 years between the two great World Wars as a major in the Army. He received a promotion to Brigadier General at the end September of 1941, just a few months before Pearl Harbor. It took less than 5 years for him to progress through the ranks to become a 5-Star General of the Army. Eisenhower’s actual field leadership over the legion of allied forces lasted just 2.5 years from the invasion of North Africa in November 1942 to VE Day in early May of 1945. By that time, the war and all of his opportunity for major combat leadership were over.
To be sure, Eisenhower and all the ranks of Presidents, business leaders, coaches and pastors have opportunities to lead at other levels than the “head coach.” But the truth is, the opportunities for what our society defines as key leadership roles are few and fleeting.
For this reason, we find it much more compelling to help emerging leaders to be all they are designed to be. Then, when presented with new and growing opportunities—whether large or small—those leaders are thriving, healthy, confident and prepared for the task.
Here are four crucial questions of Leadership Design, a “Leadership Design Quotient” if you will–LDQ. None is easily measured by a simple test; but developing leaders who thrive is neither easily done nor measured.
- How healthy is my core? At our core–every person and every emerging leader–are the key questions of truth: who we are and what is our purpose? How will we spend our beautiful, wild, wondrous and few decades on the planet? Leaders who are thriving at the core have a healthy view of themselves and their role in the world.
- How healthy are the 8 Dimensions of my whole life? A thriving leader will be thriving in all the 8 Dimensions of life. Hidden, ignored, untended life issues are the dangerous igniters to destructive leadership.
- How well am I helping others to thrive? A true emerging leader is both ensuring his or her own health in all 8 dimensions of life and at the same time helping others to thrive. A prosperous leader is an aspen tree: they have a strong, widely distributed root system from which others grow into vigorous and exquisite leaders in their own right.
- How well is my life integrated? How whole is it? At Leadership Design Group, we develop and honor leaders with a sense of purpose who excel in their marriages and families, in their social, financial and vocational lives, in their emotions, intelligence, physical and creative selves. While we appreciate great leadership wherever it is found, we grieve for the leader who achieves great success in vocation but pays for that success in the wreckage of his or her family, finances, emotions or physical health.
We encourage you to ask not what you want to do as a leader, but ask rather who you want to be. In living into and out of all you are designed to be, the doing is far more likely to achieve lasting significance both for you and those you lead.