Building Organizational Leadership in Three StepsSep 17, 2020
Among the lessons I’ve learned from more than 40 years of varied leadership experiences is this one: There is no style of leadership that works in every situation. The best leaders are those who can adapt to the circumstances and bring forward the knowledge, skills and abilities required by them.
This is neither easy nor common. Many organizational leaders lead with a “my way or the highway” philosophy, expecting everyone around them to make the necessary adjustments. This style may work in some situations but is not particularly effective over the long run and with the constantly changing landscape of business today. As for me, I found it very different to lead when the organization was experiencing rapid growth versus when it was in downsizing, cost-cutting mode. I also found that the requirements changed when I led in a line role versus a staff role. Additionally, I’ve observed leaders who are very effective while things are running smoothly and not so when there are multiple challenges.
In order to build the leadership in your organization, three important steps should be taken – minimally on an annual basis but also whenever the environment is changing. Today, of course, this is a virtually continuous state in the world of business.
Step One: Assess the situation. What are the trends impacting your industry currently and/or likely to do so in the near future? What are the current circumstances relative to competition and how is that changing? What are the emerging needs in terms of organizational capabilities? What skills, knowledge and abilities will be required to meet those needs? And, importantly, where are the gaps?
Step Two: Assess your own leadership. How well prepared are you to lead your organization or team through the upcoming challenges? How solid is your vision for the future? What skills do you need to develop to excel in the changing environment? How good are you at aligning the team around common goals and gaining cooperation and collaboration toward flawless execution?
Step Three: Assess your team. Given the results that will be expected, what new skills will your team members need in order to excel? How cohesive is the team? What is the level of trust and collaboration? How well do they engage in constructive conflict? How much creativity and innovation exists? To what degree are team members committed and accountable? Where are the biggest gaps?
These three steps will help prepare you, your team and your organization to move forward with a higher degree of clarity. In a world of constant change, uncertainty and ambiguity, clarity is power, and it builds confidence. Spending time to ask these questions, reflect on and discuss the answers is time well spent.
Consider the use of assessment tools to help in assessing individuals’ strengths, blind spots and opportunities. There are a variety of online assessments that provide valuable insight and increased self-awareness. Multi-rater assessments can be particularly helpful in quantifying areas of greatest need and creating a targeted action plan.
Once you’ve gathered the information, be sure to take action. This process can be overwhelming if you are undertaking it for the first time and especially if there are
significant issues. I recommend utilizing an experienced facilitator to guide you through the steps. Remember, this knowledge is only useful if you use it proactively. Set priorities and follow through, then be sure to reassess. Celebrate your progress.
Implementing this practice in your organization will enable growth and lead to better results. Whenever you are deliberate, intentional and strategic about growth and development, everything around you also improves. This is an investment of time, energy and attention worth making.
If you are ready to move your organization forward, and you want the help of a skilled trainer and facilitator, I invite you for a brief (15 minute) conversation during which we can determine your next step, together. Click here to find a mutually convenient time.
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