Leadership at its core is still about mobilising people in an organisation around common goals in order to achieve impactful results. Its foundation boils down to the basic skills used by any leaders in any organisation.
The Building Blocks of Great Leadership
Skills include communication, resolving conflict, teamwork and understanding emotional concepts are the basic fundamentals that most leaders adopt in order to best fit the job description, but there should be a need to cultivate these skills effectively with programs that teach the foundations of leadership (the accountability, delegation and communication). This ensures a way to provide prospective leads with building blocks of completed management practices.
The following are building blocks of great leadership.
Great leaders are/have:
- Vision – demonstrate an idea of what’s important for the future of their business and ability to communicate meaningfully to persuade others to align their efforts to bring the idea into fruition. As a result, uniting people around that vision and making the necessary choices about what and what not to do. This takes assertiveness and self-confidence in order to work with others and to take initiative in getting things done. There is a degree of determination, but they continue to innovate ways that reinvent vision or strategy to meet the demands of the business.
- Communication – are confident sending and receiving verbal, non-verbal and written messages. There is comfort and poise when it comes to presenting ideas, attributed to the use of appropriate grammar, vocab, eye-contact and gestures, to groups and readily respond to ideas and questions. Clarity and concision are beneficial when attempting to engage the team, continuously looking for ways to provide constructive feedback, be it through email, phone calls or weekly status updates.
- Interpersonal – show appropriate levels of comfort with others and are able to build lasting relationships, helping the team feel at ease to obtain good end results. Building a fast and lasting relationship with all those involved in the project, basing each relationship on discretion and diplomacy, is a priority. It is important to dedicate time to work on their inter-relationships whether it is comfortable managing conflicts or differences of opinion or helping others see the most problematic aspects of the work in a positive light.
- Problem Solving/ Decision Making – use analytical, fact-based and impartial methods to reach a decision on what needs to be done. They recognise information gaps by forming judgements and opinions, and as a result, knowing and growing themselves so that they can most effectively lead others to carry out the best practices. There is a balanced inductive approach with the use of speculation and intuition to develop the best people to implement a strategy. The short-term planning links with strategic thinking to anticipate the future consequences of the current task.
Great leaders are skilled within these building blocks even though there are multiple qualities that can be defined as such, at the core remain Vision, Communication, Interpersonal and Problem-Solving skills.
Despite leaders operating in different industries, geographies and new structures, they are still dealing with people who need to work together. The advice is not to look for a new framework of leadership foundation but rather help leaders master the tried and true practices that exist. Nevertheless, every organisation is different so it’s up to your judgement to identify the appropriate building blocks.
Read More - Best kept secrets to developing leaders
Potential Leader to a Great Leader - The Transition
It has been outlined what makes a great leader and the foundation of one, now we present how potentials transition into a great leader. When seeking new leaders, promoting from within the company is an effective practice rather than hiring a new candidate.
Current leaders can groom internal potentials and help them gain perspective and context they normally wouldn't get until several years into a leadership role.
The biggest reasons why leaders fail in such transitions is because they don't go back into a learning mode, so it is important to pick up further skills/ talents that make promising leaders now and in the future.
This includes taking initiative (stepping up when a project needs to be done and seeking out opportunities for professional growth) and showing humility (being open to suggestions for improvements). When you see these qualities in your employees, you've likely identified the new leaders who can move your business forward today and act on opportunities that will deliver results tomorrow.
Intuition can play a large role in making such a large decision as to who the company’s new leader will be, assessment tools do garner benefits in getting more accurate information about the potential employee.
The 360-degree feedback is a highly recommended, effective leadership development tool. A 360-degree feedback process is a great tool for giving potential leaders clear feedback from their peers, managers, and direct report.
It is a system whereby people fill out an anonymous online feedback form with questions measured on a rating scale. 360-degree is used to get a better understanding of leaders/ employee’s overall strengths and weaknesses, their behaviour and competencies.
This feedback is useful in developing and identifying potentially great leaders. It benefits to specifically address any training that your employees require or how they plan to leverage their top strengths and improve on weak areas.
Read More: Fundamentals of 360-degree feedback
We will go more in-depth in the upcoming blogs where the important role of 360-degree feedback are discussed in detail. Included will be further benefits of utilising the 360-degree feedback and why companies should embrace the feedback tool.