The Five Percent Rule of Leadership

On May 15, 2011, in Leadership, by Jeremy C Wilson

Every day, the managers at your company have a direct impact on your career. They hire and fire team members who you will work with. They make important decisions not only about the team’s work but also about your work. And they are the ones who make decisions about your future at the organization. These are the kinds of things many of us are thinking about, or at least should be thinking about, as we’re considering our careers after Kellogg. And it’s also something, we’ve been thinking about in my leadership coaching class.

In my leadership coaching class each Friday, we talk a lot about what it means to be a good leader. And we discuss the things we can do to develop into good leaders ourselves. As part of that, we also think about the things we valued in our previous managers, and the types of leaders we want to be one day.  In fact, last week, we wrote leadership statements and then read them in front of the class.

The class reminded me of one of my favorite mottos in business. The Five Percent Rule.

The Five Percent Rule (as I’ve learned it) says that if leaders just focus on others for 5% of the time, then it’s worth their time because they’ll get far more than that 5% of time back in performance from the person they coached. Specifically, if they spend time each week coaching you, sharing their vision with you, helping guide your career, and being a resource for you, then you’ll do better work, you’ll have a greater sense of loyalty, and you’ll work harder, easily making up for that 5% of time they spent.

And this holds true for every level in business, even at the top. Because even the best leaders need to brainstorm have someone help them think about what’s going on.

Fortunately, I had mentor like this in my last two jobs. What about you?

 

 
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