Leadership Radar Process

I gained a fascinating glimpse into leadership from a rolling news talking head. The professor concerned was familiar name to me as many years ago, just after graduation, I had a friend that went to work for him in Oxford.

I was taken with his analysis of UK political party leader capability. Upon further surfing, I came across this thought provoking quote that any sales person that wishes to be seen as a leader ought take on board.

“Leaders have to display many qualities, but the great ones are able to combine all three of Thought, Task and People leadership”

He terms this trio of traits his “Leadership Radar Process”:

Thought Leadership (eg. ideas, vision)

Task Leadership (eg. setting objectives, delivery)

People Leadership (eg. motivating others, empathy)

In the interview I saw, Prof Binna Kandola interestingly seemed to present these in an order of priority. Task Leadership (the capability to get the job done) was talked about first, followed by People Leadership (how they interact with others and manage a team) and Thought Leadership (their vision and ideas) third.

His framework struck me as a wonderful way to triangulate your own performance. Whether you lead a particular client account, sales campaign, or salesforce, working on these three axes appears to be a winning policy.


For those interested, he felt the ranking of current political leaders was Cameron, Clegg, Brown, and even set out Blair as being troublesome too.

Former PM Blair was negatively exposed as being excitement seeking, lacking in empathy, having an over-reliance on charm and persuasion, too calculating, and focused too much solely on his personal aims to exclusion of others.

In the Professor’s view, outgoing PM Brown was pleasingly a conscientious and long-term thinker, but was held back by (almost paranoid) suspicion, an inability to collaborate and in general terms not really cut out to be a leader at all. In a telling line, Prof Kandola thinks Brown to be too negative, “You don’t inspire by generating negative emotions in your followers”.

New Deputy PM Clegg was seen as genuinely charming and having the best visionary qualities, yet exhibits downsides of needing to be centre of attention and liking to dominate others.

And incoming PM Cameron had the pluses of resilience, optimism and being a good team leader and partnership player. Less attractively, he could be inclined to arrogance and short-termism.

A more in-depth assessment is offered on one of his blog posts.

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