Though performance and behaviors of employees are critical for organizational success, there is one differential competency that most organizations seek in their employees and that is, leadership orientation.
Leadership is not restricted to any designation, position or availability of few leadership skills. Simply put, it is a mindset that inspires employee to say that “Yes! I will take the responsibility”. Skills can be learnt, designations can be given and knowledge can be acquired once we develop employees that can confidently say that “Yes! I will take responsibility”.
Though organizations would always have a few employees that possess great leadership skills, the number is never sufficient to drive sustained long-term business growth. During my corporate and consulting experience I have come across many aspiring business leaders who ended up feeling frustrated because they could not build sufficient leadership bandwidth to make best of the emerging business opportunities. Some companies actually delayed their strategic implementation plans because they could not find a suitable talent internally or externally.
Though external talent can meet immediate leadership need, it may not be always advisable to hire outside leaders as an accepted way of filling leadership positions, especially from employee motivation /retention perspective. If you wish to create an organization that needs to sustain, prosper and grow into an institution over next few decades, it is imperative that your organization must have a robust leadership development model and process.
The idea for effective leadership development stems from the notion that every individual has a unique quality in them – some might be good negotiators, while some might be good at analyzing situations. Some might know how to persuade people, and some may have a creative mind full of ideas. The key is to identify them, and groom them to become excellent leaders for future organizational positions.
Organizations such as TATA Motors, Sandvik Asia, L&T, Wipro, Infosys etc. have their own research based and robust leadership development models. The leadership development programs based on these models have created generations of excellent leaders for these organizations who contributed during various growth phases of these organizations.
One of the critical strategies these organizations developed and implemented was their leadership development strategy. Effective leadership development programs made available internally groomed leaders for these organizations whenever there was a market opportunity for growth.
As a business leader there would be some important steps that you would like to take before creating your own unique leadership development model and process. Some of these include –
- Defining what ‘leadership’ really means. Leadership may mean different things for different people, and that is perfectly acceptable – here’s when the HR’s or the employer’s role comes into play. The individual needs to decide the meaning of leadership relevant to their organization, and define it accordingly. Leadership development model and process also needs to be aligned to the strategic direction of the organization.
- Encourage your employees to network. Networking need not always imply networking with clients or business people. It could simply mean being more social and open with other working employees. This opens a gate for communication, hence creating an atmosphere of better understanding about mutual roles, cross-fertilization of ideas and overall learning.
- Create systems and policies that enforce leadership. When carefully woven into the everyday workings of an organization, good leadership skills can be obtained more naturally. For example, modifying the company’s appraisal management systems by focusing on leadership-based accomplishments can ensure that employees take more responsibility. Promotions, rewards and compensation systems should be geared up to encourage employees that challenge the status quo, reflect exemplary performance by going beyond the confines of routine responsibilities, suggesting out of box solutions to mention a few.
- Focus on Developing Your Managers Into Leaders. Managers are responsible for the motivation and retention, hence training them on coaching skills can create great advantage. Teach your managers on leadership skills to make them aware of their leadership styles and its impact on motivation and performance of their teams. Initiatives such as 360-degree feedback or upward feedback (where subordinates provide their feedback on the effectiveness of leadership support from their managers) help managers develop into well-rounded business leaders.
- Be an example. A famous proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words.” This is the best practice to live by, especially if you are a top leader. People tend to watch and pick up habits of leaders. Employees are smart enough to find out gaps between words and actions. The key is to “practice what you preach”. Especially this is important for top management levels and managers who are leading larger teams.
These are some of the early steps towards creating your own leadership development approach. For more information regarding the best leadership development models and programs for your organization, please reach us. We specialize in Organization Development and Leadership Development Process Models. We can help you building a high growth profitable business enterprise by creating a leadership bandwidth for future growth. We have a team of highly specialized experts in the field of HR and OD. We have presence in Mumbai and Pune.
We are keen to be your long-term partners in business growth!