How to Gauge and Build on Leadership Effectiveness
Remedy, Reinforce, or Aspire?
Does your company have an effective plan for identifying and developing future leaders? Whether you are in charge of identifying future leaders or aspire to be a leader, it’s important to understand the current state within your company.
Only 35% of leaders recently surveyed reported their leadership assessment and leadership performance programs as high or very high quality
(DDI Global Leadership Study, 2018)
If you are committed to developing and retaining top talent, while also outperforming the competition, a thoughtful and effective leadership development program is a must.
Do you know where you and your team stand on the continuum of leadership readiness and skills?
What do you expect of your leaders, and how do you measure their success? If you aspire to be a leader, what can you learn about essential company goals and your role in achieving those goals?
It is critical to understand company goals first, then to understand existing programs and resources. From there, it’s time to gauge the levels of skill, potential and readiness for leadership that exist on your current team.
Here are some “leadership states” that can serve as guidelines to categorize current and future leaders, so you can frame potential next steps.
Remedy: Build New Skills or Coach New Behaviors
The supervisor of a branch office recently assumed the leadership role for a formerly high-performing customer-service team that is now regularly “written up” for minor mistakes. Another supervisor on your team struggles with particular personalities and communication styles. Both of these leaders need fair and consistent guidance to build more effective leadership skills.
Reinforce: Acknowledge and Reward Strong Leadership Habits
Your regional sales manager has a way of gracefully “herding cats” and gets top performance out of a mixed cast of independent characters. The controller of your manufacturing division has turned an under-performing accounting team into one that never misses a deadline. Staying in close communication with these leaders and offering the resources they need to retain and develop their teams is essential.
Aspire: Taking Good Leaders to the Next Level
As your company has grown, several natural leaders have been promoted to management roles. Do you have a stated leadership path that prepares future leaders for assuming new responsibilities? Does your company have regular conversations with individual team members about their goals? How do their goals align with the growth strategy of the organization?
You may see opportunities to apply one or more of these actions to the same leader in different situations. Don’t overlook the quiet team member who waits until everyone else is done talking before presenting a gem of an idea. They deserve cultivation, too.
Not all leadership development needs to be formal or time-intensive. For example, a 10-minute teaching about how to handle an angry customer can be highly effective. Such teaching is best done in the moment and with a “coaching” (versus shaming) approach.
Decide which leadership states apply to you or your team, and take steps to build the next level of leadership effectiveness.