Are You Taking Leadership Too Lightly?

by Granville Triumph

The most critical talent issue faced by organizations is the quality of their leadership, according to the Global Human Capital Trends 2014 survey published by Deloitte University Press. 86 percent of respondents view leadership as urgent or important, although just 13 percent believe they do an excellent job at developing leaders – not just in senior management but across all levels of the organization.

The leadership gap that exists today has been caused not only by complacency, but also by the complex skill set one must have to be an effective leader. A modern leader must be able to balance the talents and personalities of several generations, develop enough leadership depth to replace retiring baby boomers, understand the global marketplace, stay on top of emerging technology and business models, and inspire innovation.

Organizations require a formal leadership strategy to develop and execute a business plan, and provide the flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing business landscape. More than hiring the right CEO, this requires a detailed evaluation of what talents and qualities your leaders must bring to the table, and how those talents and qualities should be leveraged.

How many leaders do you need across your organization, now and in the future? What skills and background are required for various leadership positions? What kind of company culture do you want to create, and what types of people are capable of creating it? How well can your leaders collaborate? How should leaders behave individually and collectively?

A leadership strategy that doesn’t consider all of these factors is incomplete and often results in organizations having a serious shortage of leaders. It requires a significant analysis of past performance and the current state of affairs, as well as an educated look toward the future – a future that is uncertain at best.

From your comprehensive leadership strategy will come a leadership development strategy, which should be shaped by business strategy and measured by business results. The recruitment, training and support of potential leaders should be directly aligned with business strategy so these individuals are capable of executing and leading your company forward. This can’t happen when leadership and business strategies are out of sync.

Grooming your next generation of leaders as part of a customized, ongoing program is a smart investment – literally. In fact, research has shown that organizations with the most effective leadership development programs invest 30 percent to 40 percent more than other companies. However, the return on that investment will be felt by the individual and every part of the organization

Organizations have become far too complacent when it comes to developing and expanding leadership qualities. Quite frankly, leadership is tougher than ever. Those organizations that place the highest value on their current and future leaders by committing to a comprehensive leadership strategy will be best-positioned to adapt, excel and endure.

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