A high performance indicator

Effective leaders enable teams to move from here to there in healthy ways allowing them to make the remarkable happen, but how do they do that?

By starting well

One indicator in achieving remarkable results is the leader’s ability to position the team for success.

A key to high performance is how  we approach completing the work. Starting well not only effects the outcome, but has everything to do with maintaining team health.  A healthy team is more likely to deliver the best outcomes and produce the remarkable

Modeling good leadership behavior

Let’s examine contrasting arch types that I refer to as the Overlord, Superhero, and the Exemplary Leader.

The Overlord:

This type drives accomplishment through exploitation of team members and manipulation of the environment to the best of their ability.

They build teams where they must be the smartest one in the room.  Astoundingly, their kingdoms endure a long time using these tactics, but not typically with the same people.  They mistrust those they hire and rely on heavy process to get work started and coercion to ensure it gets done their way.

Characterized by
  • Work is distributed and everyone is busy
  • Work is added until team members struggle to complete their assignments
  • More rules are implemented to ensure compliance
  • Recognition is kept by the leader and blame is assigned to the team
  • Response to poor engagement is ignored or explained away

End result: those in charge are blind to the overlord tactics because the results are disguised as progress.

The Superhero:

This type we admire as they use their superpower to carry most of the load.

They can take on the majority of the work themselves initially, set a fast pace for the team as they run hard and fast.   Early progress may inspire others to follow more quickly, but a prolonged rapid rate tires even the most inspirational leader and exhausts the team.

A leader’s success depends directly on their ability to lead the team they have, not the team they wish they had.

Characterized by
  • Impressive results . . . while they last
  • Team disengages because they can’t keep up
  • Superpower wanes leading to leader burnout
  • No time to implement improvements discovered by the team
  • Team is left drained

End result: those in charge will give the leader accolades when they are successful and promote them to lead the next high priority initiative or remove the leader and re-organize the group if the team breaks down and can’t deliver.

A key to high performance is a team fit for purpose.

The Exemplary Leader:

This leader assembles the right team to carry the load knowing that the right team matched to the work leads to success.  They are also able to build the right team thru coaching, training and resources leaving the team better than when they found them.

Characterized by
  • Work with purpose leads to effectiveness
  • Learning and practice is valued
  • New leader development built in to the process
  • Leveraging organic agility to take advantage of change as change occurs
  • Team performance improves over time

End result: those in charge will see new leaders emerge allowing the organization to grow stronger over time.


  1. Define the characteristics of the team you need to be successful
  2. With the team, identify gaps and build a plan to address them
  3. Take time to implement changes to make the team more efficient along the way

Shepherding: The art of becoming the leader others want to follow.