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Building great leaders at the IRS

Jim Trinka (Director – Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, US Internal Revenue Service, Alexandria, Virginia, USA. E‐mail:

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Good does not equal great and all organisations need great leaders. Recently, concepts such as analysing successful leaders and building leaders' strengths have generated a lot of enthusiasm in the leadership development community. There is now a better understanding of what differentiates “great” leaders from others, offering new avenues for developing more great leaders. Previous leadership development efforts tended to focus on improving the performance of our worst managers and often delivered mixed results. This study of the 360‐degree assessments of about 1,000 managers reveals that an emphasis on building strengths is as much as eight times more effective than correcting weaknesses and can improve business results as much as 80 percent. The research builds on a very powerful case for managers to improve their overall leadership effectiveness and for the chief financial officer to fully fund the development efforts.



Trinka, J. (2004), "Building great leaders at the IRS", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 36 No. 7, pp. 262-264.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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