Tips to assess your managers' leadership abilities

Dirk Gorman
Tags: business management

As businesses operate in these times of upheaval as well as opportunity, much more attention should be given to analyzing an organization’s leadership, its value and ability to build. An organization’s leaders and managers are key drivers of an organization’s success or failure, so the need for leadership assessment should be a predominant theme in the corporate environment. While most managers are adept at the skills needed to perform their day-to-day functions, their professional and personal leadership ability is a critical differentiator that can provide strategic advantage to the organization. A manager’s ability to maintain and utilize a professional network of contacts is a priceless asset that distinguishes good performance from true sustainable success.

The model leader is a self-sustained individual with an elite network available at will. An elite network consists of inspired and inspirational people who can be called on for opportunity, advisory or to attract new talent into an organization. As a member of an elite network, which consists of 15 to 20 individuals, the model leader is recognized as a “Gang of One” with the ability to call those individuals into action. Past accomplishments, experiences and the commitment to achieve are the foundation leaders use to assess those who become part their elite network.

As a “Gang of One,” the leader in possession of a set of known behaviors and patterns wears a particular leadership C.O.A.T. – communication, opportunity, advisory and talent – relevant to a specific role and industry. This elite network must be utilized to activate each component of C.O.A.T.  Leaders understand that their continued commitment and desire is necessary to continually grow their elite network and to advance their leadership impact.

“True” leaders have earned a “Gang of One” distinction. While they physically show up as one, their impact and production is the aggregate of individuals in their elite network. To earn a revered elite network of inspiring individuals, your past commitments and diversified accomplishments must be compelling. The drive to continually inspire others will propel this network to continually expand. This network is the central component in the leader’s ability to drive superior performance, key personnel acquisitions, new project ideas, project expansion, legal concerns, and ultimately the energy and enthusiasm required to excel.

Using the following leadership C.O.A.T. analysis tool will enable the assessment and benchmarking of a leader’s “Gang of One” credential and organizational impact of his or her elite network.

  • Communication
    • Articulates a vision with clarity and can get messages across with desired effect. Goals are known and direction is set.
    • Words coupled with action create energy and momentum to achieve.

Elite network: Demonstrated superior skill confirms organizational commitment which activates their involvement. 

  • Opportunity
    • Sees ahead clearly and anticipates future consequences and trends accurately. Uses broad knowledge and perspective to create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans for future sustainability and success.

Elite network: Innovative business opportunities are brought to your attention for inspection.

  • Advisory
    • An invaluable resource, you are sought out and relied upon by others for personal and professional insight.
    • Your solution-based problem solving builds credibility and loyalty.

Elite network: Serves as your extended advisory board.  

  • Talent
    • With a nose for talent, you have your own direct pipeline of difference makers available from your network.
    • You have the ability to avoid reliance solely on interviewing skills and recruiters that expose organizations to larger margins of error in acquiring talent.

Elite network: Recruitment in the network greatly increases chances of success when acquiring talent.     

With an abundant talent pool available, organizations are well positioned to harness the power of the Gang of One. The leadership C.O.A.T. assessment is clear and simple. If it isn’t simple to determine how effective your leaders are, then they aren’t leading.

About the author:
Dirk Gorman’s expertise is in turning around and building successful organizations in the business-to-business space. He is founding partner of Empire Surgical, a multi-faceted sales solutions company and exclusive distributor of Depuy Mitek, a leading Johnson & Johnson sports medical device company. For more information, visit

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