Why is Leadership Development important?
Because all organisations want and need to implement new strategies to help them sustain and grow, now more than ever, organisations need to focus on Leadership development.
We all understand that strong leadership is crucial to the success of a business, a country or any organisation; it is, therefore, essential to understand the importance of leadership development in any of these areas.
Many organisations move individuals into leadership roles without investing in their leadership development.
Not only is there a risk that you are setting these leaders up to fail. You will be adding pressure on the "new" leader as they go through a transition from employee to leader.
This can be really tough on individuals, particularly when having to lead their peers. Further to this, to name a few factors, it can result in high staff turnover, low morale, absenteeism, lost productivity, and more.
It is essential to sharpen employees leadership skills so that there is a clear pathway when they take on leadership roles.
Leadership development is not only critical to creating a competitive advantage for organisations, but it is also about equipping your leaders with tools for success. Leaders need to bring out the best in their staff and put their teams and organisations firmly on the path to success.
In their research report Bersin & Associates states the following:
"Leadership development is not just about developing leaders — it is about creating a culture of accountability and performance… Leadership development creates a magnet for high performers and fosters a high-performance organization. That is why organizations that are 'built to last' have strong histories of leadership development."
- To drive and implement both short term and long term strategies for an organisation or business.
Having a clear vision of the goals and objectives of the organisation is key for any leader.
The leaders need to learn to take feedback from their teams and include them in the strategic planning sessions.
By working hand in hand with their team and gaining their input, not only will leaders develop trust, but the team will also see this as a clear indication that the leader values their opinion.
Furthermore, it will open doors for out-of-the-box ideas and insights that could significantly contribute to strategic planning for a leader.
A leader then needs to be able to offer a detailed strategy for their team and have the ability to share this with the employees.
As we operate in an ever-changing environment, as part of the strategic planning, leaders should also have strategic problem-solving skills. These skills include the ability to analyse problems and the root cause and be able to harness the power of an open-minded workplace to find every possible solution.
2. Drive high levels of accountability
Leadership development will help leaders focus on creating high levels of accountability in their organisations and teams. Leaders need to gain a clear understanding of why a culture of accountability is so vital for their business to succeed. Accountability is part of the leadership development process, and it will help a leader acknowledge the mistakes they make and encourage others to learn from them. By creating a culture of accountability, a leader will not only increase team members chances of achieving individual results and success but will also identify process improvements required to increase the overall quality and standard across the organisation.
Leadership development should showcase how leaders can create an accountability culture by displaying the following behaviours:
Integrity – being honest about the possibility of delivering on commitments, and taking responsibility and addressing issues when something goes wrong
Discipline - a leader should not get distracted by competing priorities or desires and needs to stay on track.
Execution - mastering new skills and endeavouring to achieve outstanding excellence
3. Leaders self-awareness
Developing self-awareness with a focus on emotional intelligence is key to any leaders success.
When you are self-aware, you can see where your thoughts and emotions are guiding you.
Leadership development should focus on leaders understanding themselves so they can understand others.
Through developing self-awareness, leaders will become better communicators and will, manage conflict and diversity more effectively.
Are you questioning what emotional intelligence has to do with leadership success?
Globally organisations are recognising the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Emotional intelligence is one of the strongest predictors of performance and is the foundation from which influential leaders are built.
Leaders should be able to identify their triggers and manage their emotions.
By developing emotional intelligence, leaders will be able to recognise, understand and manage the impact of their emotions on their behaviour and be better equipped to engage with their teams.
A leader should be challenged to evaluate their proficiencies in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
4. Manifest employee satisfaction
Although employee satisfaction may mean different things to different people, employee satisfaction is an integral part of leadership success.
In a survey funded by Make Their Day and Badgeville, Ken Comee, Badgeville CEO concluded:
"Workers of all ages, especially the rising Millennial population, are motivated by real-time feedback, fun, engaging work environments, and status-based recognition over tangible rewards."
Based on this and many other research studies conducted, it would be fair to say that there is a clear link between employee satisfaction and better job performance.
We have heard the saying, "people leave bad bosses and not bad jobs".
Leaders need to master the skill of employee engagement which in turn will drive employee satisfaction and business success.
To improve employee engagement leaders have to master the art of two-way communication, have the ability to share their goals and ambitions for the organisations and to define their expectations of their teams clearly.
As part of this process leaders also need to ensure they learn how to provide constructive feedback and recognition to their organisations and teams.
5. Innovation in leadership
Leaders need to be continually planning for the next bend in the road.
Particularly with the transition into the 4th Industrial revolution and the constant impacts of AI on many industries.
An essential part of leadership development should be looking at ways to equip leaders to become agile and seek innovative ways of changing the way they do business and how their teams operate.
Influential leaders are typically creative and recognise when changes could improve the workflow. It is essential to develop innovative leaders who take responsibility for the obstacles a business encounters and creates a path toward bringing the work back to its intended expectation and beyond.
Why is innovation an essential part of leadership development? Innovative leaders challenge the status quo can set aspirational goals. They will continuously seek ways of gaining information, move quickly, adapt to change, can establish trust with their employees and have a vision for the future of the business.
Organisations that do not have a leadership succession plan in place and are not focused on developing their future leaders may find their organisation in a state of disarray and or even non-existence. Times are changing so rapidly. Old top-down command leadership is a thing of the past.
With a mix of four generations currently active in the workplace, an organisation needs to reinvent and focus on their leadership. Research has shown that over 84% of organisations anticipate a shortfall of leaders in the next five years.
For organisations to continue to thrive, they need to shift their focus to leadership development. All-round, we need leaders who can engage and drive success through self and team development.