Leaders become successful, not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others in the organisation to do great things. As it is International Leadership week, we’re sharing what strong leadership looks like, and how it helps you to build a successful organisation.
The topic of leadership It’s one of 16 areas we measure to work out your Organisational Fitness. The higher the score, the more productive and profitable you’ll be.
What do great leaders in successful companies do?
1. They set the vision and strategy
- Great leaders define and communicate a vision for the future - people should engage and believe in it. This means they’ll be working proactively to a common goal, with no ambiguity or wasted effort.
- The most inspirational leaders don’t just set the vision - they make it come alive through story-telling and painting a picture of a meaningful future.
- The common pitfalls we often see are when leadership teams assume they’re aligned on their strategy when there are often misunderstandings or misalignments within the leadership team.
2. They care about corporate responsibility
- Great leaders care about the people who work in their organisations, the communities where they operate, and the wider planet.
- Employees want to work for an employer who cares. Recently, there has been a surge in discussion about psychological safety - the extent to which employees feel safe to speak up without any negative consequences. Psychological safety is created and lost by leaders in the organisation.
- With global climate change hitting the news headlines more frequently, people are paying attention to the actions of their leaders and the sustainability of organisations. Both employees and consumers are voting with their feet.
3. They’re visible, accessible and authentic
- The best leaders are visible - you see and hear from them regularly.
- They’re consistent in their communications.
- They’re accessible. That means an open channel of communication to ask questions and to get comments and feedback.
- The best leaders are authentic, they can be themselves and at times they can be vulnerable. They don’t need to pretend they always have the answers.
- Brene Brown, a researcher and author from Texas, has recently drawn a lot of attention to the idea of vulnerability in leadership through one of the most watched Ted talks to date.
4. They lead by example with their values and behaviours
- Organisational values live and die with the leaders in an organisation. This is why published corporate values can be so dangerous, if the values that leaders honour and display contradict those stuck up on the wall.
- This is especially true in times of transformation. During uncertainty, employees will be looking to leaders for cues on how to behave.
- If circumstances mean that employees need to adopt a new approach, and the leaders aren’t being role models of that behaviour, it’ll never be fully adopted into the organisation. What leaders do and how they act speaks far louder than what they say.
See for yourself how we measure Organisational Fitness. It gives you specific metrics for every area of your business and culture, which we’ve proven to be linked to growth, profit and customer NPS. There are 16 topics in total - like inclusion, communication, leadership and motivation - all focused on your people and organisation.