Leadership Essentials: Diagnostics, Influence and Energy - Ideas for Leaders
Idea #064

Leadership Essentials: Diagnostics, Influence and Energy

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There are three essential prerequisites – diagnostics, influence and energy – that would-be leaders must develop at the start of their managerial careers and maintain to become successful. This Idea describes these prerequisites and suggests five essential tools that managers can adopt to assist the development of diagnostics, influence and energy.


What makes a successful leader, and how can leaders develop their own personal leadership models? Exploring these questions in this article, the author highlights the importance of leaders in general; they are responsible for other people’s lives, futures and money. They lead people in challenging times and times of uncertainty, thus making it imperative that they continuously ask themselves questions such as, “what is required of me? What good things can I create or introduce?”

During a “Discovery Event” held for members of the IMD Corporate Learning Network in 2011, the author offered his framework for Leadership Diagnostics, Influence and Energy, which he discusses further in this paper. He first points to five essential tools that can be implemented by leaders on a regular basis:

  1. Communications: conveying important messages, such as “what are we fighting for,” in order to orient people and keep them focused.
  2. Mission: attracting and engaging talented people and energizing all those involved, making them understand the importance of the mission.
  3. Structure: organizing everyone to deal with the new challenges, which involves ensuring the right individuals and units know their roles and work together.
  4. Processes: ensuring time and assets are used as efficiently as possible so that vital activities are done to secure high-quality products and services.
  5. Culture: creating and encouraging an environment that is open to dialogue, respectful and challenging. All members of the organization should feel that “we are in this together.”

These five tools lend support to three essential capabilities necessary for effective contributions in any leadership situation:

  • Diagnostics i.e. shaping your context. Examples of diagnostic skills include attention to detail, understanding oneself, respecting the opinions of others and being more fact-based.
  • Influence: i.e. managing your stakeholders. Examples of influencing skills include understanding other people’s motivations, networking, displaying self-confidence and positive energy and taking the initiative.
  • Energy: i.e. galvanizing your resources. Leaders can energize others through material rewards. They should ask themselves, how can I maintain my intellectual, emotional and physical energy in order to inspire myself as well as my co-workers for the next 10 to 30 years?


Aspiring leaders should ask themselves how much responsibility they are willing to take in terms of other people’s lives and other people’s money. Specifically, they should ask themselves the following questions:

  • How far do I want to go?
  • What am I willing to invest?
  • How will I keep it up?

Furthermore, managers should utilize the five tools highlighted to identify and develop their own personal leadership model. This will help them become leaders that are “energetically ingenious” in all aspects of their work, every day, for many years to come.



Leadership Essentials, Bottger. P, Insights@IMD (2011)

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Idea conceived

January 1, 2011

Idea posted

May 2013
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