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Strengthening Leadership Capability is Critical for Business Success

12th Aug , 2022

Leadership capability is a critical issue for all businesses and organisations, and it underpins the success of organisations globally. At International Business Mentors, our business mentors and business coaches assist business leaders to enhance their leadership capability.

Good leaders should inspire and develop themselves and their people to engender greater meaning and a gripping purpose. To facilitate such a change, the leaders should foster and embrace EQ and encourage this throughout the organisation. EQ is the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively with self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Great leadership should aspire to a well-performing, empathetic, harmonious and appreciative leadership and workforce team operating together towards clear common objectives. This should be fostered within a strong culture that facilitates stronger customer loyalty, staff retention, deep satisfaction and better commercial outcomes.

Each business is unique, and leadership facing their own individual challenges and business opportunities. However, there are many principles and practical lessons in leadership that can be applied to many businesses. A well-experienced business mentor can support you and help you develop what is needed to improve your organisation based on your specific circumstances.

The Key Areas of Leadership Capability

As a start point to building leadership capability, the following key areas should be questioned:

  1. Distinguish between management and leadership
  2. Move beyond ‘leader’ into ‘leadership’ development
  3. Use meta-competencies and character development to enhance leadership capability
  4. Focus on creativity and innovation
  5. Conduct impact evaluations
  6. Follow best practices

See below for details of these key leadership capabilities areas for questioning:

  1. Distinguish between management and leadership
    Leadership is about exercising influence to mobilise others to collectively tackle difficult challenges and achieve organisational results, whether they are in a formal management position or not.
  2. Move beyond ‘leader’ into ‘leadership’ development
    Leadership development is not just about a focus on specific individuals, but also expanding the thinking to the leadership capacity of the whole organisation. This means developing leaders at all organisational levels and boosting the collective leadership capacity for the future of the organisation. This, in turn, empowers employees and bolsters employee engagement.
  3. Use meta-competencies and character development to enhance leadership capability

Competency models emerged in the 1970s to codify the required behaviour for specific managerial positions. Competency models were originally established by identifying the behaviours that led to past successes. However, today we would examine the mindsets needed for the future of the organisation, as things will have changed and evolved. Using only competencies for establishing leadership development, which is a good start, may fall short. This is because leadership is also fundamentally about relationships, as well as the individual leader’s competencies. The modern solution is moving towards using ‘adaptive’ or ‘meta-competencies. These are the sets of knowledge, skills and aptitudes that underpin or allow for the development of other competencies, especially those that people will need in the future, such as enabling learning, adapting, anticipating and creating change.

Developing character is also key to effective leadership development.

  • Competencies get us to the doorway of leadership, but character gets us through the doorway and into leadership.
  • Managers tend to control resources to get results, but leaders exert character to build a sustainable future.
  1. Focus on creativity and innovation

Any good business mentor will tell you that great leadership is needed for innovation, as modern businesses must create and adapt continuously to survive and succeed. This is driven by highly competitive and changing markets, and significant evolution in the ways of doing business such as online, artificial intelligence, and shifting business environments with cultural and political changes and economic shocks. Leaders must establish work cultures conducive to creative thinking, adaptation and innovation to develop a greater competitive advantage. This continual renewal process will also motivate the leaders and the staff to greater efforts and increase job satisfaction and productivity for increased energy and results.

  1. Conduct impact evaluations

Conducting evaluations is a vital component of the leadership development process itself, with three main benefits: extending the reflective dimension of the process by inviting participants to consider the value of their experience and how they apply it; gathering valuable suggestions for improvements to the process; and fostering employee engagement and loyalty.

  1. Follow best practices

Consider the following 14 best-practice principles of leadership development:

  1. CEO’s commitment
  2. Strategic orientation, alignment and scope
  3. Senior management’s involvement
  4. Clear and relevant program goals and objectives
  5. Careful selection and mix of participants
  6. Comprehensive and integrated assessment
  7. Thorough preparation process
  8. Pre-entry feedback/coaching sessions
  9. Business mentoring and coaching or peer coaching
  10. Highly experiential approach
  11. Reflective learning and journaling
  12. Building social capital through networking
  13. Program follow-up; and
  14. Evaluation

By implementing the above, organisations can empower their leadership and workforce to promote distributed leadership and a better performing organisation.

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss how a business mentor or coach can assist with your organisational leadership challenges.

By David Cartney, August 2022

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