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Research Provides Important Insights into Leadership Development

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Over 300 utility managers have participated in a leadership development process conducted by TAP Resource Development Group (TAP Resource) between 1998 and 2006. To better understand utility leadership, TAP Resource has studied the results of the leadership assessment portion of the development process.

All of the organizations determined that their core Strategic Focus was one of Operational Excellence so the study primarily looked at the leadership style most appropriate for this type of organization. The results of this study present a number of important conclusions, the most significant being the following:

1. A large percentage of utility leaders are not taking a proactive role in the operation of their organization. They apparently cannot or believe they cannot significantly influence the direction or results of their organizations.

2. There is a definite lack of focus on results, on making things happen, on following through in the creation of the vision for the organization.

The first pattern may be creating a significant barrier to the development of effective leadership and the second will definitely inhibit the utilities from implementing the vision, the kind of organization that they want and need to create.

The answer to this problem, based on this study, is that leaders must begin to proactively influence the direction and results of their organizations! Instead of taking a generic approach to leadership development, programs must be implemented that develop leaders aligned with the needs of the organization. Utilities should implement organizational performance systems designed to institutionalize performance and results within the organization.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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