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It is often considered that becoming a leader is all about having people follow you. But is that it? What exactly is the role of a leader?
The role of a leader is to handle strategy, inspire the team, and manage resources. But it's more important to be an effective leader than just be one. An effective leader should have aptitudes in all of these areas.
When people mostly talk about "leadership effectiveness," they typically are referring to their ability to inspire the team. After all, people are much more nuanced and difficult to manage than any other resource in an organization – and even happen to be the foundation for growth.
The 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey reports that 805 of its respondents rated leadership as a high priority, but only 41% believe their companies are ready to fulfil their leadership requirements.
What is leadership effectiveness?
Leadership effectiveness can be defined as the leader’s ability to effectively influence their team and other organizational stakeholders to reach the goals of the organization.
Organizational leadership is quite frequently viewed as a skill set within business management, although it is necessary in almost all companies, and workers in any sector may use these abilities to become more effective in their positions.
For those responsible for cultivating leadership – executive coaches, organisational development professionals, and those already in leadership roles who mentor others – there is a never-ending and constant demand to assist leaders in improving their performance and effectiveness, particularly as the marketplace changes. It is also important to comprehend the continuing shift in human capital trends in order to build leaders capable of driving organisational success in the future.
In defining leadership performance and effectiveness, it is also important to determine how leaders influence employees to go beyond the basic benchmark of performance expectations or standards.
Studies have even shown that effective leaders are most likely to bring positive outcomes.
However, despite the importance of successful leadership in shaping and motivating employees to perform beyond expectations, there are several other essential factors that need to be considered. This is because successful leadership only has a moderate impact on the firm’s financial performance. Other factors such as the organizational culture and climate can impact individual team performance.
Why is it important to measure leadership effectiveness?
While we typically anticipate certain characteristics from our leaders – such as charm, vision, and diplomacy - these are attributes that most leaders develop as they advance into greater and more challenging jobs within companies.
Measuring leadership effectiveness entails identifying the fundamental skills necessary by a company to attain greater performance levels and strategic goals.
Furthermore, leadership quality must be measured across a broader variety of abilities.
Measuring leadership effectiveness efficiently helps to direct an organization's resources for improved efficiency and the achievement of goals. This is because effective leaders provide clarity of purpose, motivate and guide the organization to realize its mission.
Top 10 tips to improve organizational leadership effectiveness
Organizational leadership is concerned with establishing strategic goals for an organisation while also encouraging individuals inside it to achieve their personal objectives in order to successfully carry out a larger purpose.
Here are 10 tips to improve leadership effectiveness; bit by bit at your workplace
1. Start by persuading leadership growth from within your organization rather than from outside
Bringing in manpower from out to help your employees, without getting your employees to understand the need for the action can be disastrous. For instance, respondents in most organizations tend to fill out assessments randomly just to get through it quickly or ask an assistant to take the questionnaire for them. In these instances, the executives clearly weren't "bought-in" to the value of coaching. Don’t let that happen.
2. Allot time for emotional intelligence coaching
With the responsibilities of managing a team, leaders are pushed in a million different directions. It's difficult to make time to discuss feelings, views, and encounters. There are constantly pressing projects to manage and deadlines to meet. However, allowing tasks to take precedence over continuing relationships between leaders and their teams in a company is a formula for low employee morale.
So try to schedule performance evaluations on a regular basis, whether quarterly, monthly or otherwise. These planned periods for reflection are wonderful chances for leaders to develop their self-awareness and sensitivity to their team.
3. Ensure that quality communication takes place especially during changes
It is important to ensure that your employees are heard, especially in situations that tend to turn things around, which can bring negative reactions. In such cases, improper communication can lead to widespread dissatisfaction, stress, and distrust in both parties, the employee and the manager or leader. However, with high-quality communications at the right time, employees will feel more secure about their jobs, less stressed, more committed and report better job performance.
4. Help your employees find meaning in their work
Find time to make your employees understand why they are doing a particular task and how it would benefit them and the organization as well. This will help to boost positive emotions, increase motivation and improve perceptions during a workday, and most importantly help them make progress towards meaningful work.
5. Make it clear that you value directness
Hierarchy tends to put employees at several levels at a power disadvantage, with many afraid to speak the truth to managers or leaders. This would make them unable to directly request what they wanted or express their needs, making them choose to communicate indirectly. This can bring in a lot of confusion as requests would then be moved on to the next agenda item rather than waiting for clarification.
So, try to show your team that they can feel free to approach you and communicate things with you directly.
6. Try to embrace conflicts when it focuses on the task
Keep in mind that task conflicts, where there are disagreements between team members about the content of their job tasks, don't always get in the way of creativity. In fact, moderate levels of task conflict could actually boost creative behaviour in a team. However, managers should not intentionally create conflict, instead, they should try to embrace and be open to conflict when it relates to the task at hand.
7. Ensure there isn’t innovation overload in your department or organisation
The perceived intensity of innovation can lead to employees feeling helpless. In this instance, intensity refers both to volume (i.e. number of innovations) and lack of downtime between one innovation being implemented and the next one coming along. This can even lead to your employees giving up and wanting to quit.
8. Adopt a facilitative coaching style with your team
A facilitative style of coaching, where employees are encouraged to explore ideas and try things out, can enhance a person’s feelings of control and empowerment. This can turn out to be most effective when it comes to achieving the best results.
9. Take time to understand where people are coming from
We are more likely to change others’ views or have our views changed if our values are aligned with the person doing the influence, or the person we’re trying to influence. Where values are incompatible, we are less likely to influence the other person to change their mind.
10. Understand that the cycle of learning never ends
Our doubts about what we think we know can increase our curiosity and motivate us to learn more. Scientists say that curiosity in and of itself is not enough of a driver to encourage us to learn. We need to doubt our knowledge too. You could try keeping a notebook in which you would pen down things you don’t know about so that you can go back to it and learn more about it.
To sum things up, it can be said that a leader's responsibility is to oversee strategy, motivate the team, and manage resources. Implementing techniques for leadership development is all about determining whether managers or leaders are skilled in all of these areas and not just their ability to motivate their team.