Leadership Identification and Development

At Peirce Group we are working with a new paradigm of effective leadership.

In today’s world, and with the influence of a new generation of employees, there is broad recognition that major change is needed in the requirements and applications of leadership. Today, organizations must create an environment where almost any employee can function as a leader, taking personal responsibility for the customer, the team, and the vitality of the business. These are a new set of requirements that make the task of turning managers and other employees into leaders a large and challenging opportunity.

Today, organizations must create an environment where almost any employee can function as a leader, taking personal responsibility for the customer, the team, and the vitality of the business.

A company can no longer thrive with one lone dictator at the top. Nor can we live with those recent instances where we have seen top managers focus primarily upon maximizing their personal financial return, demonstrating a lack of integrity or an understanding of the larger ethical and social considerations essential to truly effective, transformative, longer-term business leadership.

In business today, we must try to create entities that are like a successful sports team, with higher purpose than one person, or one superstar. A well-balanced team of players is needed, that functions seamlessly, with integrity, vitality and high competitiveness. It is not possible to win consistently as a one-man band, with other, less-visible people behind the scenes.

To create a high performance business, typical management activities like supervising, checking, monitoring and controlling, must be replaced with new behaviors that are driven by team spirit, a team of leaders and the personal character of each player/leader.

A New Breed of Leader

A close associate of ours, Dr. Sheila Murray Bethel, a global leadership expert, best-selling author and award-winning speaker has confirmed in her new book "A New Breed of Leader" that there are eight essential qualities needed to be an effective leader in today’s changed world. They are:

  1. Competence -building purpose
  2. Accountability-fostering trust
  3. Openness -generating integrity
  4. Language - connecting relationships
  5. Values - forging community
  6. Perspective – establishing balance
  7. Power – establishing influence
  8. Humility – inspiring authenticity.

We know these are the qualities required for breakthrough leadership. Yet, we see major gaps remaining in the process most companies use for identifying and developing their key people.

Where Are the Leaders We Need?

Because we still see companies with too many managers, and too few leaders, we need to recognize that leadership is not about management skill or experience. Rather, it is about “the kind of person” an effective leader is. In the past, companies have tried to identify and select leaders based on personality. They have not been successful.

Integrity, honesty, ethics, patience, kindness, respect are the hallmarks of character. As Warren Bennis noted, "Leadership is character in Action."

That is why, at Peirce Group, we have recognized that leadership is not about personality. Personality is fixed at a young age, and does not change. Personality is about style. By contrast, leadership is about substance, and substance is based on character.

Integrity, honesty, ethics, patience, kindness, respect are the hallmarks of character. As Warren Bennis noted, "Leadership is character in Action."

At Peirce Group, we agree. This is why we have introduced the descriptive language of Virtues to explain the 22 building blocks of personal character and core values that are the basis for positive and sustainable transformation in today’s workplace.

Peirce Group helps leaders at all levels find their strengths in these areas and connect them to the goals of the business in order to help them achieve career excellence and long lasting success for their organizations.


Identifying those who are smart enough to have uncommon vision, yet whose personal dynamics are strong enough to lead with integrity, trust and respect, is not an easy task.

Measuring character strength and assessing and reporting personal values and virtues is a unique new capability we have developed.

From this starting point comes the process of teaching people how to change long-standing habits and behavior. This is not an easy process. It requires commitment, hard work, and constant feedback. Our programs recognize these issues and are built on the accepted premise that the dynamics of character can be changed, and that leadership can be a learned or an acquired ability for many people. At the same time, we must recognize that not everyone can be an effective leader. The key dynamics and desire to lead are sometimes just not there.

At Peirce Group we have focused upon developing and providing the unique tools and process needed for most people to transform themselves into effective leaders. We discover their character strengths, and teach them how to leverage these strengths while also correcting their weaknesses.

An Effective Model

We have noted that truly effective leaders are those who guide with strong ethics and influence others by serving them with humility, and not with the hard edge of command and control. Such people are often characterized as "servant leaders", a concept widely recognized as one of the most powerful models for practicing effective leadership. A servant leader serves the company, the customer, his or her subordinates and associates. If you are a servant leader, you demonstrate passion and compassion every day. Passion for your work, compassion for the people you serve, empathy for your teammates, and the courage to make tough calls. These are the winning definitions and the capabilities we have defined as Workplace Virtues.

Why Virtues?

How personality, skills and cognitive abilities are manifested in behavior and actions depends upon a person’s underlying character, and the fundamental building blocks of character are virtues and values. Also, virtues can be developed with coaching as opposed to personality and intelligence, which research shows as being set at an early age. At Peirce Group we have shown that virtues can be developed if the proper environment and strategies are created. Furthermore, we have found from our experience working with multinational corporations that virtues are shared across cultures. Virtues may manifest into behavior differently from culture to culture, but the underlying virtues are found universally in all cultures.

Virtues allow people to become fully engaged in their work and live up to their full potential in service to their organization, co-workers, customers, friends and family.

Developing virtues enables one to be true to oneself, pursue one’s career with utmost integrity and passion, act with authenticity, and attain true intrinsic rewards. Virtues allow people to become fully engaged in their work and live up to their full potential in service to their organization, co-workers, customers, friends and family.

In addition, virtues development in leaders can lead to increased engagement in other people throughout the organization. Research by Gallup, Towers Perrin and others have shown that organizations that have leaders who demonstrate authenticity in action, caring for others, and service to their community have significantly greater levels of engagement from their employees than organizations with leaders who are perceived to be lacking in these areas.

A New Approach

At Peirce Group, we help develop leaders that are true to themselves, committed to their organization and demonstrate outstanding performance. We also help leaders avoid "burnout" by maintaining a constant focus on developing one’s core capacities and attaining intrinsic, higher-order rewards that provide true, sustainable motivation to succeed.

At Peirce Group, we utilize a 4-step process to develop to identify, confirm, and develop leaders:

We utilize a 4-step process to identify, confirm, and develop leadership potential.
  1. Know the Leader. In order to enact any significant transformation in a leader, we must know that person well. At Peirce Group, we go beyond gathering information about a person’s job and performance goals and learn about their underlying capacities, virtues and needs. Fundamental in this step is our proprietary assessment tool, the Character Foundations Assessment™, that measures a leader’s level of development in values that are most critical to the success in the workplace. These virtues fall along five dimensions: Integrity, Vision, Drive for results, Responsibility, and Inspiring others. Together, these virtues provide a balanced perspective on a person’s strengths, development needs and general worldview. Further, we develop a relationship with each leader in order to build the trust needed to reveal the true developmental needs we all have.
  2. Develop a plan. Once we learn capacities and development needs of the leader, we help the leader connect those with the highest priorities of their organization. Based on this analysis, we help the leader enact this information into a plan with specific goals and measurable results.
  3. Follow through. Each development plan with have specific tasks to be completed over the course of the plan. Milestones are identified to determine progress throughout the plan and to help the leader maintain focus and make adjustments when necessary. A Peirce Group coach meets with the leader on a regular basis to discuss progress and challenges and to provide help when needed.
  4. Complete the plan and re-evaluate. At the end of the plan, the leader and Peirce Group coach to determine the success of the plan and to re-evaluate the leader’s development priorities moving forward. Follow-up assessments can also be administered at this time to determine areas of improvement from the previous assessment.

A New Set of Skills is Required

Each member of this new generation of leaders needs to serve with skill as a coach, a facilitator, a listener, a role model, a visionary, an influencer, a communicator. This new language of effective leadership is based upon integrity, ethics and trust, the critical foundations of Peirce Group’s new Virtues model.

Trust in leadership has become the central issue of this decade. If you don’t command trust and generate confidence, you won’t attain sustainable results. If you don’t demonstrate integrity with every action, you cannot accumulate trust. At Peirce Group, we measure, identify and develop these critical capabilities.

The Importance of Constant Feedback

Changing people is not easy. Most effective leaders agree that you need to help people help themselves to get to where you want them to go. This approach requires setting attainable goals, communicating them clearly, and ensuring there is "buy-in" and full recognition of how success will be measured. Everyone needs to understand what needs to get done, and why. Rigorous and regular performance reviews need to become an integral part of each individual’s development program. Every 6-months is a very good discipline for both the manager and his or her direct reports. When feedback is offered in an open, honest and constructive way it will be seen as objective guidance that is vital to personal growth and achievement. Then, all participants will recognize:

  • Here’s what I am good at
  • Here’s where my development priorities are
  • Here’s where I need and want to get better

Most importantly, when the language of the development program is based upon consistent and clearly- understandable virtues and character values, then improvements can be measured accurately and fairly, and will correlate well to changes in other business metrics.

The Differences Between Leaders and Managers

The defining characteristics of managers are:

  • Managers focus on results, usually short-term
  • Managers command
  • Managers have their opinions and express them
  • Managers are followed because they are bosses

The defining characteristics of leaders are:

  • Leaders achieve results through people
  • Leaders inspire
  • Leaders work to form opinions
  • Leaders have an authentic desire to serve others within their organizations and their communities
  • Leaders are followed because people believe in them and trust them

"Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things". ...Warren Bennis

Virtues Can Be the Key to Corporate Transformation

Peirce Group is demonstrating to clients that Virtues, expressed in the form of character and values-based Leadership, is the most effective strategy to employ when the goal is to transform a corporate environment from status quo or decline, to one that will nurture sustainable growth and long-term excellence through the success of its people. Developing Virtues at all levels is a proven path to creating a high-performing culture of character and strong values within an organization.

Contact us today, to learn how the new language of Workplace Virtues is transforming the way our clients look at Leadership