Have you been to a bookstore and noticed how many resources are on the shelves focused on the topic of “leadership”?
How many have you read, hoping to acquire some new method, quality, or technique that would help you meet the challenge of leading effectively within your organization? Each resource addresses the subject from a different angle, but few of these materials really get to the heart of leadership.
Leadership is arguably the most significant issue in companies today.
In their book, “Improving Leadership Effectiveness”, Fiedler and Chemers state “The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization.” Tracy supports this view in his book, “The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success”, by writing “Leadership is the most important single factor in determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast-moving economy.”
Is there room for improvement within your company’s leadership? Martin and Mutchler, in “Fail-Safe Leadership”, share that if one or more of the following conditions are present, the leadership in your company may be failing.
Here are some of the items from their checklist:
1. excessive meetings
2. preponderance of consensus-driven decision making
3. lack of personal accountability
4. time consuming and/or meaningless performance evaluations
5. communication problems
6. personality conflicts and/or power struggles
7. difficulty keeping employees motivated
8. unacceptable results
9. time management problems
11. duplication of effort
12. high staff turnover
13. fear of making decisions
14. reactive rather than proactive thinking
15. failure to meet quality standards
16. chronically sagging sales
At least a few of these conditions exist in most organizations, so the question is what to do about it. To answer that question, we must start by defining leadership.
If asked to think of a great leader from your life experiences and describe what made/makes them a great leader, what would you say?
Most people would describe personal qualities and characteristics of the person. What’s most interesting is that there are several characteristics that would be consistent across different people’s answers, but there are also unique characteristics that made each great leader different. Some are outspoken… some are soft-spoken. Some are conservative thinkers… some are risk takers. Some are highly educated… some are not. Etc. What is the common thread among great leaders? Is it that they get things done and achieve results?
When considering how to develop leaders within an organization, a decision must be made.
Do you take certain people and try to teach them qualities and characteristics that you think make a great leader, and then hope for results? This would be considered a competency-based model of leadership development. Do you define the desired results, and then grow people as well as processes within your organization, to ensure that those results are achieved? This would be a results-based approach to leadership development. Do you utilize some combination of both models?
The answer to that question depends on several factors.
One thing is certain; if you are not effectively developing leaders within your organization, you are likely functioning at a competitive disadvantage, or soon will be. So, the question is… what will you do to develop leaders in your organization?
For more information or help on this and other topics, contact our team.