Increase Leadership Speed without Breaking a SweatWith e-mail in-boxes burying managers in hundreds of e-mails while they rush through a blur of meetings, speed is essential to effectiveness — if not survival.

Zenger Folkman recently analyzed 360 assessments on over 50,000 leaders to understand how speed impacts evaluations of their effectiveness. A “speed index” was created to measure speed in three ways: how well a leader can spot problems or trends early, can respond to problems quickly, and can swiftly make needed changes.

Zenger Folkman researchers then looked at high scores on the speed index correlated to overall leadership effectiveness among the leaders rated in the top 10% through 360 assessments. They found “of these 5,711 top leaders, 2% were judged particularly fast but not exceptionally effective (that’s about 114 of them); 3% (some 170) were judged to be highly effective (that is, people trusted them to do the right thing) but not particularly fast. And fully 95% (that’s more than 5,400 of them) were judged both particularly effective and particularly quick. That is, being good is only marginally better than being quick, but the fact is both are necessary, and neither alone is sufficient, to be perceived as an exceptional leader today.”

We don’t need to do everything faster, but for many activities speed can significantly improve effectiveness and the motivation of individuals. It’s interesting how often our pace affects our attitude — slow is often boring. Think about people you have worked with who had a tendency to move quickly and keep things going at a fast clip, versus those who were more ponderous as they ensured everything was completed and finished. Yes, too much speed can leave participants feeling rushed and frazzled. But if your company’s energy is lagging, maybe it’s time to consider upping the pace.

Joe Folkman presented this research in a complimentary webinar 8 Ways to Increase Leadership Speed without Breaking a Sweat. Click the link to learn the eight skills possessed by leaders who are perceived as both “fast” and “highly effective.”