Study: Leaders Struggle Most with Developing Tools

( [email protected] ) Nov 04, 2009 11:16 AM EST

Leaders struggle the most in areas related to developing tools needed to succeed, found a new Barna study that identifies the weaknesses of leaders.

The three most common weaknesses are difficulties in developing tangible resources – such as funds, personnel, facilities – needed to carry out plans; developing the skills of other leaders to facilitate more effective organizational performance; and developing the systems required to efficiently complete tasks.

Specific behaviors that leaders perform most poorly in include: negotiating agreements that maximize benefits at minimal costs; attracting new resources to the organization – especially human and financial capital; developing and implementing individualized developmental plans for emerging leaders; and nurturing robust relationships with existing colleagues – demonstrating sufficient care and attention to their needs.

The study was based on interviews with 1,736 individuals qualified as leaders. Participating individuals were evaluated on 15 core leadership competencies, which showed that most leaders perform their best when it comes to using existing resources.

“Many of the master leaders concurred that if you are called by God to lead and you have the quality of character that motivates people to follow you, you can succeed because the competencies required can be learned,” commented George Barna, founder of The Barna Group and author of the recently release book Master Leaders.

Therefore, Barna said, it is “invaluable” for less experienced leaders called by God to be coached by proven leaders in the skills they need to succeed.

“Potential leaders who are wise and have a deep commitment to using their leadership capacity to help other people are likely to grow into effectiveness,” he added. “A potential leader who is smart and aggressive but fails to see leadership as serving, and is more worried about gaining credit and fame than doing what’s right regardless of the personal cost, is in for a long, difficult journey.”

Barna’s latest book Master Leaders is based on interviews with 30 prominent leaders, including Tony Dungy, Mike Huckabee, and John Townsend. The book covers a wide range of topics including humility, vision, values, conflict and confrontation, building teams, discipline, handling pressure and criticism, and power, among others.