In today’s business world of ever increasing change, it is always easier to justify focusing on the immediate needs of the bottom line or latest crisis; and pay less attention to the underlying issues that ultimately drive long-term success. One of top underlying issues for most organizations is leadership development. Companies that develop effective and adaptable leaders are those that stay ahead of the change curve, learn to adapt and consequently grow and prosper.
Are today’s employers confident that they are producing managers and leaders they need for the future? According to a Harvard Business Publishing Survey of Global Executives in September, 2013: “leaders lack the skills to achieve strategic goals, and the need to develop stronger leadership capability extends to middle managers, who are being asked to do more than ever before.” Only 32% of the 800+ respondents believe that their organizations have the right leadership talent and skills to achieve their organizations’ strategic goals, according to the survey results
There is little doubt that today’s management believe in principal that there is a clear connection between the quality of an organization’s leadership practices, and subsequent intentions by employees to stay with an organization, perform at a high level, and apply discretionary effort. Let’s take a look at what Leadership Skills and Development Practices are needed in today’s business environment.
Leadership Skills to Have and to Develop:
- Commitment, Resolve and Perseverance – driving every aspect of the organization towards a singular unified purpose.
- Risk Taking – breaking conventions and developing new products and services to establish marketplace dominance.
- Planning – although a leader does not get too involved in the details, he/she must orchestrate a high-level plan that drives everyone towards the unified goal.
- Motivating – an effective leader encourages contributions from the entire organization, navigates the specific motivator of each individual or group to push the right buttons and to inspire employees at every level. He/She strives to achieve not only their personal best but the best for the organization as a whole.
- Communication skills that rely on active listening – his/her skills incite others to work towards the goal in line with the path the leader has chosen.
- Goal Oriented – being able to identify and focus on working towards and completing both short and long terms organizational goals.
- Adaptability – the ability to thrive and work in a changing environment; finding new and innovative ways to solve problems and accomplish goals.
- Group Interaction and Dynamics – being able to effectively lead and manage others within the dynamics of the organizational group and team to resolve conflicts, engage employees and optimize performance.
Why Do Organizations Invest In Management And Leadership Development?
One will be hard-pressed to find a successful company today which has survived the ups and downs of economic cycles in the past ten years that does not have a leadership development strategy. Companies invest in development programs:
- To achieve organizational objectives, as it provides benchmarks, tools and insights into leading practices.
- To improve manager’s performance, who can positively impact both organizational culture and the bottom line. Leadership development is not just about developing leaders, but it is about creating a culture of performance. There is a relationship between good management and employee commitment. Great leaders attract, hire and inspire great people.
- To better understand the relevance of developmental activities and be able to identify gaps that need to be filled in their own and other’s management skills.
- To increase employee retention – develops and uses talent effectively. Providing leadership development for internal staff is more effective than hiring externally, because internal candidates know the organization and how to navigate it.
- To manage change more effectively – enhance the ability to respond to rapid shifts in the environment through leaders who can understand how to manage change and respond to resistance.
- To increase competitive advantage.
- To support business growth – individuals can understand the direction in which their target market is moving and be able to create products that support this movement.
- To improve and increase employee engagement. In organizations where the management development activity are higher, employee engagement levels are also higher. Employee engagement and productivity have a great impact on customer satisfaction and revenue.
The bottom line is that Leadership Development adds to and improves a company’s bottom line. An organization that invests in developing its employees as effective managers and leaders will be able to create a sustainable advantage in the increasingly complex and competitive business world. Highly effective managers can easily outperform competitors and have a significant impact on their employees and the world. Better leadership practices can improve an organization’s bottom line by thousands or millions of dollars, depending on the size of the organization and current gaps in management practices.
Leadership development programs can provide a genuine change in a person’s life and have a massive impact on his/her competence at work, approach to work and employee engagement. So, organizations and corporations who invest in developing their next generation of leaders and managers are those organizations and corporations who will see the many benefits at both micro and macro levels in terms personal well-being as well as competitive advantage in today’s and future marketplace.