Three Performance Indicators of Indirect Leadership

Andrew, director of a core business unit affiliated to a listed company, managed a team with over 500 employees. Recently Andrew found that


Behavioral Characteristics of Five Leadership Roles

Leadership Roles

Behavioral Characteristics of Each Role


  • • Control the processes and results of work
  • • Plan, organize and monitor to better accomplish tasks
  • • Keep discipline and order
  • • Prefer to maintain the status quo instead of seeking changes


  • • Have outstanding professional abilities and logical thinking
  • • Spend lots of time on solving tough problems and handling emergencies
  • • Act as firefighters who help others deal with crises
  • • Prefer to be treated and respected as specialists or professionals


  • • Have foresight in future changes and development trends
  • • Establish and promote visions, missions, values and strategies of the team
  • • Make the blueprint of team development recognized and shared by all members
  • • Link the current situation of each team member to the future of the whole organization


  • • Focus on optimizing organizational structures and working procedures
  • • Formulate disciplines, regulations and rules so as to keep the behaviors of team members on the right track
  • • Establish collaborative mechanisms to improve cross-functional cooperation
  • • Make efforts to upgrade the whole working system


  • • Promote interpersonal synergy inside the team
  • • Build mutual trust between team members
  • • Enhance the cohesion of the whole team
  • • Improve members sense of belonging and loyalty

the performance of the whole team was increasingly deteriorating. What’s more, he felt it was quite difficult for him to do well in the management of such a large-scale team.

Andrew tried to find out his own problems and weaknesses in team management and explore effective ways of self-improvement. Then he turned to Bob, a well-known leadership professor, for advice. Bob listened carefully to Andrew’s experience and then asked him a question: “What do you think is the greatest difference between the management of a large-scale team and that of a small-sized team?”


Three key roles of indirect leaders.

Andrew was confused, “I think there shall be no difference.”

Bob said,

They differ a lot from each other, ft is critical for leaders to manage as many details as possible for small-sized teams while it is significant for them to focus on key performance indicators while managing large-scale teams. As far as you as an indirect leader are concerned, I believe it’s necessary for you to analyze and examine the main performance indicators of your team as a whole.

Andrew could not wait to ask, “Professor, could you please tell me what on earth are the key performance indicators of large-size teams like mine?” Bob asked, “Have all the employees signed labor contracts with your company?” “Of course!” answered Andrew. Bob continued,

Then is there a “psychological contract” signed between each member of your team and the organization led by you? Labor contracts are printed on paper, while psychological contract is rooted in the hearts of your employees. “Psychological contract” reflects employees’ commitments to and expectations on their organization, which can produce strong centripetal force and self-motivation in the hearts of employees and maintain their sustainable passions at work.

Andrew became silent. Bob added,

Are the members of your team, especially staff working at key positions, clear about the performance expectations to them from the organization and the standards of execution for their daily work? Will they still perform effectively and correctly if there is no guidance or monitoring from you? You as the leader should learn to improve the execution of employees by setting “performance signposts” guiding them toward the right destination, just like you setup a navigation system onto your car.

“That’s just what I’m lacking,” Andrew acknowledged. Bob continued,

I was told that most of the employees you’ve chosen were quite talented and qualified due to your careful selection and assessment. Do these first- class employees cooperate well with each other? Do they have harmonious relationships with each other? Is there enough mutual trust between them? Are there internal frictions and conflicts in your team? As a leader of such a large-size team, you should try all means to build rapports between team members and minimize disharmony as well as inconsistencies. “Interpersonal synergy” is another performance indicator of large teams which I have frequently stressed.

“Dear professor, psychological contract, performance signpost and interpersonal synergy must be the three main performance indicators of large-size teams. What you just summarized suddenly enlightened me and now I know what I am supposed to do,” Andrew said with a smile of confidence on his face.

As an outstanding leadership expert, Bob pointed out that the management of large-sized teams should focus on key performance indicators rather than on details. What’s more, he summarized the three key indicators of the macro performance of large-scale teams, which are psychological contract, performance signpost and interpersonal synergy. Coincidentally, the main responsibilities of three key roles of indirect leaders are closely linked to the three performance indicators of indirect leadership. The main responsibility of pioneer is just to establish and strengthen psychological contracts between employees and their organizations so as promote the centripetal force of the whole team.


Three Performance Indicators of Indirect Leadership



  • • Psychological contract reflects the commitment of team members to the goals and missions of their organization, which is a key indicator of the teams centripetal force.
  • • Once employees have signed psychological contracts with their leaders, their mindsets, behaviors, performances and selfexpectations will be in high accordance with the future development of the whole team.

Corresponding Leadership Role: Pioneer

Objective of Team Development:

The centripetal force of the whole team



  • • Indirect leaders should install on each of their team members a behavioral navigation system to ensure the performance of everyone is on the expected track. Such a navigation system can greatly promote the executive force of the whole team, which is called as performance signpost.
  • • Due to the guidance as well as warning of performance signpost, the behaviors and performances of team members will be kept on the expected track even if there

is no face-to-face supervision, coaching, correction or follow-up from leaders.

Corresponding Leadership Role: Architect Objective of Team Development:

The executive force of the whole team



  • • Interpersonal synergy is an indicator measuring the team spirit of and mutual trust between team members.
  • • Indirect leaders should bind together team members with various cultural backgrounds or behavioral styles and improve the overall cohesive force of their teams.

Corresponding Leadership Role: Coach

Objective of Team Development:

The cohesive force of the whole team

The key duty of architect is to set performance signposts for all team members in order to enhance the executive force of the whole team. While the role of coach is mainly accountable for promoting the interpersonal synergy between team members for the sake of promoting the cohesive force of the whole team (Table 8.5).


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