Top leaders provide an edge for new ideas, efficient execution, and great team dynamics. Companies that invest in leaders strengthen the organization as a whole and promote even greater growth.
According to a Deloitte study, 89% of executives surveyed considered the need to strengthen, re-engineer, and improve organizational leadership an important priority, but 56% said their companies are not prepared to meet leadership needs. That’s a staggering number.
Improving the strength of one’s leadership base doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task. Start by initiating a focused effort to fill in the gaps related to the company’s environment, development, and connection. These three essential actions can help companies develop leaders who accelerate and support company growth.
- Provide an Environment in Which to Flourish
- Develop a Balanced Work Model
Many companies make the mistake of running their leaders ragged, requiring long hours and imposing ever-increasing demands. But downtime is essential to productivity and innovation. A refreshed mind is better able to think creatively and strategically. Approximately 70% of organizational transformation initiatives fail when companies overload leaders and fail to provide needed resources. Decisions based on a realistic sense of the time and energy it takes to pursue initiatives ensures that leaders have the resources and energy reserves to perform at their best.
- Define Career Paths and Succession Plans
Having a clear roadmap encourages leaders to stay alert and engaged. An inspiring vision that is connected to initiatives and daily actions helps maintain enthusiasm and determination, and encourages stretching into new roles that transcend current self-imposed limits.
- Develop a Culture of Leadership
Great ideas don’t just come from the top. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” When top leaders are growing their skills and excelling, the people that they manage will grow and excel if given the encouragement, expectation, and latitude to contribute at higher levels. Delegating more and handing off higher-level projects gives leaders the opportunity to challenge employees to rise above personal limits and develop new skills. Providing the leeway to make mistakes, while remaining open, affirming, and supportive helps employees find solutions and turns missteps into learning experiences. Most people don’t learn from successes because they aren’t scrutinized. Mistakes provide the best opportunities to learn because they force us to employ higher level thinking to find our way through.
- Define and Support Key Competencies
- Set Clear Competencies
Many companies we’ve partnered with lack updated, properly developed, well-defined leadership competencies. Some don’t have them at all. These companies are missing out on the opportunity to foster rapid team integration and alignment on strategic initiatives and culture. Better yet, adding competencies provides a performance management tool, enabling leaders to know when they are hitting the mark or falling short.
- Conduct Team Leadership Training
Concurrent programs that focus on an entire leadership team can align all participants with the same language and expectations for higher levels of collaboration and performance.
- Teach Leaders to be Coaches
Effective leadership training provides the coaching skills required to create successful and change-pervasive workplaces. It allows participants to practice new tools and models, teaching leaders to be impactful coaches and change-makers. In a short and effective format, Velocity’s Leadership Development Program teaches scientifically-based models, which are the core of effective coaching.
- Catalyze and Get Out of the Way
The final step involves tying the vision to leaders’ initiatives and daily activities. The executive’s job is to convey the vision to all levels within the organization and tie it to annual strategic initiatives. Talk about them frequently with the help of all senior leaders so that it cascades to all levels.
When leaders are taught to ask how their day-to-day efforts contribute to collective achievement, employees are enabled to understand big-picture goals and their part in the collective achievement. Then, share with each layer of the organization what has worked in training at the top levels to maximize the benefit of lessons learned.
Nurturing and investing in leaders expands company success in the form of fulfilled initiatives and higher revenue. One analysis found that leaders who performed in the top 10% more than doubled company profits compared to the other 90% of leaders. Gallup research shows that employees who utilize their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged with work, which can lead to greater employee productivity, retention, and satisfaction. The result is clear: Companies that activate leaders’ full potential have a significant edge.
About the Author: Karen Brown, Founder and CEO of Velocity Leadership Consulting.
Drawing on 30 years of success as a corporate executive, over 30,000 hours of senior executive coaching experience, and certification as a Master Neurolinguistics Programming Practitioner, Karen Brown understands the complex challenges CEOs and their senior teams face. A thought leader in leadership and professional performance, Karen leads expert coaches who use the scientific Velocity Power Pathway™ process to elevate the performance and impact of senior executives.
About Velocity’s Leadership Development Program
Exponential Results’ Leadership Development Program includes behavioral assessments (leaders’ actual behavior and how they are experienced by others), online skill education, team dynamic work, team project alignment and tracking, one-on-one coaching, accountability tools, and use of leadership competencies for role and performance management. Developing leaders simultaneously through this program guarantees the ability to move forward and achieve initiatives. It will also enable early recognition of leaders that may be falling behind, and the opportunity to quickly adjust to keep leadership teams on track.