There are no good or bad organizations but it is poor or exceptional leadership which makes or break them. How is it that societies so often choose poor leaders, even though strong leadership is crucial to good performance? Often the only criteria is that someone be a high producing individual to get promoted, when management roles require a totally different set of skills than just high performance. The issue is that we focus on the wrong things when we look for “leaders.” That fact is that an impressive resume or list of academic achievements isn’t necessarily an indicator of leadership potential. But is there a better way to consider who the next leader in your organisation is?
In a new role, the candidate will have to face new obstacles, deal with a new team, manage more staff, introduce new products and do it all without a clear road map. Because of this, any leadership appointment is somewhat speculative – but there is a way to bet smart when you’re making a captain’s call. Considering a few critical factors when choosing a new leader can make all the difference in your new management structure.
So what qualities should we focus on before handing out the next endorsement to an amazing torch bearer?
It all begins with integrity. Integrity is the core underpinning for leadership effectiveness. It is a blend of honesty, consistency and ethics. If a leader’s integrity is thrown into doubt, it is very hard for a leader to regain the trust of his or her staff.
While empathy is externally focused, intelligence is internally focused. An emotionally intelligent leader habitually takes a hard, honest look at themselves and accurately discerns their strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. Putting personal pride aside, they actively solicit the input of others and incorporate the team’s best ideas into the overall action plan. Without emotional intelligence, hubris sets in, and a leader will overestimate his own ability and alienate others. When a leader begins to let their team down, they may lose the loyalty they’ve worked so hard to earn. A huge mistake organisations make is failing to account for emotional intelligence – from my perspective, I’ve seen it derail more managers than anything else on this list.
Integrity alone won’t win the commitment and trust of your employees. Passion enables a leader to keep moving forward, even in tough times, and inspires the people around them to work harder towards their goals.
Courage is necessary to make the difficult decisions when facing conflicts and mediating adversity. Courage springs from a leader’s core values and commitment to a vision.
Actually achieving this vision, however, requires judgment. Good judgment allows the leader to make solid business decisions and choices. When confronting a difficult new challenge they must quickly zero in on the most important issues. They must be able to prioritise and make difficult trade-offs, keeping in mind the possible inadvertent consequences of their decisions.
No matter the company or organisation, the diversity of staff will always be constant. Each team member has a different personality, motivation and underlying agenda. Empathy is the attribute that allows a leader to effectively understand what makes other people tick, and to best position them to achieve their own goals and those of their organisation. Empathy also gives a leader the upper hand when dealing with clients and customers – getting to the core of any dissatisfaction quickly, and addressing it, is an important aspect of any leadership role.
Without a compelling vision or destination, how can a leader effectively persuade people to embark upon a new direction? Visionary leaders inspire employees to imagine a better future and work hard to achieve it.
Overall we believe that the hallmarks of great leaders, regardless of industry or geography is gearing any candidate assessment towards these traits, and away from false predictors of success. This in itself could be one big step ahead of the rest of the crowd who are still scratching their heads wondering why they are so bad at picking good leaders.
This Leadership piece is contributed by Agnelorajesh Athaide, K.Kadam, Premod Varghese and Naved Jafry