How to develop leadership at all levels
For organisations to succeed in today’s ever changing competitive business environment, they must tap into the leadership potential of their people at all levels. Leadership throughout the organisation is essential for its overall competitiveness, profitability and sustainability.
This concept of ‘leadership at all levels’ should not be taken lightly. A culture of leaders developing leaders empowers the entire workforce, engages people’s discretionary effort and capitalises on the full potential of all employees. Therefore those in formal leadership roles have a tremendous responsibility to lead by example. As a result they must develop and exhibit the right leadership abilities and characteristics.
Everyone has the potential to be a leader. There is an old saying “Leaders are not born, they are made”. Progressive organisations encourage and commit to developing leadership abilities in all employees. There is nothing that restricts the development of people’s personal leadership potential more than the artificial limitations that people place on themselves. Everyone can develop their leadership potential and contribute greatly to the productivity, performance, success and sustainability of the organisation. When people let their determination, self-motivation, strengths and abilities drive them to improve their leadership skills, they improve their own work and contribute to those around them. They don’t need additional tools. They just need to develop their leadership abilities and characteristics.
Practice the following suggestions to improve your leadership effectiveness and success.
- Work with your team members to create a vision of excellence and meaningful values for your team.
- Share the specific goals and objectives for your team and show them how they contribute towards their accomplishment.
- Become genuinely interested in seeing them achieve their personal and career goals.
- Lead by example. Let your actions be those that you’d like your team to emulate and follow.
- Be a good teacher, student and communicator. Share your insights and experiences with others in your team.
- Respect others’ experience and ask for their ideas and suggestions – then , listen to these ideas and suggestions , really listen!. Some of the best ideas for improvement in the team’s operations will come from other members of the team. Show them that you value and care about their input and ideas.
- Trust the people you work with. Without trust and mutual respect between the team leader and team members, low performance and poor morale prevail.
- Provide opportunities for others to learn how to solve problems. Show that you trust them by empowering them to take on additional responsibilities in the areas of decision making and problem solving.
- Continue to extend and broaden your knowledge about technical advances or other issues that affect your field of operation.
- Talk to people at all levels within the organisation and seek and value their feedback.
- Coach and mentor your team members, share new information and up-skill them at every opportunity.
- In the area of making the most of your time, lead by example. Discipline yourself to use a daily planner, avoid interruptions and prioritise your activities during the day.
- Conduct meetings in a timely and efficient manner. Have an agenda prepared and distributed to everybody ahead of time.
- Work to keep the meetings focused on the Agenda and outcomes.
- Recognise team members for their efforts. Thank them for jobs well done and provide recognition and, if appropriate, rewards.
- Be available to your team.
- Be reliable. Do what you say you will do. Reliability shows integrity and provides stability, strength and confidence in your team members. You are also demonstrating another characteristic in which you are leading by example.
Please consider and use some, or all of the above suggestions to develop your leadership, and encourage others to develop their own leadership potential in the same way.