Today, companies are struggling with a lack of skilled talent in the labour market and high staff turnover rates. Plugging payroll gaps from outside the firm is becoming challenging, which leads to poor organisational performance. Add to that The Great Resignation and the issue grows bigger.
However, you don’t have to grit your teeth and bear it. If you can develop your existing employees into effective leaders, you may be able to side-step these problems and emerge stronger.
This post explores effective leadership styles, the benefits of effective leadership for organisations and how you can develop better leaders.
Effective Leadership Styles
Great leaders tend to share similar characteristics. These include seeking value creation, taking risks, motivating, influencing and inspiring staff members, being goal oriented and offering a long-term vision. This contrasts with managers who tend to minimise risks, follow policy and procedure, and control and monitor.
Not all leadership styles are the same, though. Leadership is a complex topic and still isn’t fully understood. Research finds that different styles can work in different situations, depending on the company. A tech startup focusing on growth and disruptive innovation may require open, happy-go-lucky leaders, while a law firm might require conscientious, down-to-earth types who’ll do things by the book and maintain the status quo.
Common leadership paradigms include:
- Transformational leadership. The goal is to transform the business by aligning team members’ values or goals with the company's
- Servant leadership. Servant leaders focus on the satisfaction of their team members above all else, believing that professional fulfilment will enable employees to perform at their best
- Charismatic leadership. Charismatic leadership is based on the leader's personal characteristics and ability to bring a group together around a shared project
- Participative leadership. A type of leadership where the leader actively seeks input from each team member before deciding what to do
- Autocratic leadership. Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting other group members, which can be helpful in situations where companies require quick decision-making
- Laissez-faire leadership. Leaders take a hands-off approach to managing employees, giving them more autonomy and making them responsible for the outcomes of their efforts
Many leadership styles can overlap. For instance, a leader may make decisions autocratically in one context but democratically in another. A leader may be transformative in their vision but laissez-faire in practice when dealing with employees.
Impact On Business
See More Opportunities
Big-picture leaders tend to spot more opportunities, looking ahead to what’s around the corner instead of focusing on the day-to-day running of the business exclusively. This future-focused mentality lets them stay one step ahead of the competition, giving their companies a competitive advantage in the long run.
They understand technical advantage is fleeting and other companies will take their place if they don’t regularly update their people, processes, products and business models.
Train Other Leaders
Great leaders are good at training other leaders. That’s because they instinctively understand the landscape and can pass on their skills to the next generation.
Long-lasting leaders often experience joy when watching their colleagues grow and succeed. It’s one of the reasons they go to work.
Better Business Culture
Great leadership also encourages the development of better business culture. When leaders inspire others, everyone’s attitude changes. Companies become more open, transparent, team-based, innovative and kind. The positive values and ethics of the leader filter down to everyone else, informing how they behave.
Colleagues find it harder to step outside the firm’s cultural norms, regulating behaviour and improving colleagues’ relationships with managers.
Effective leadership may be able to double profits. Leaders motivate staff to exert greater effort and engage more with what they’re doing, improving the quality of their work. A culture of passion develops where each team member feeds off others, striving to produce the best work they can for the good of all.
By contrast, poor leadership can result in the opposite effect. People become unhappy and leave, increasing staff turnover rates.
How to Develop Leadership
You need to deploy strategies for developing leadership in your organisation. Here are the steps you can take:
Identify What Leadership Skills You Need
- Problem-solving ability
- Coaching and teaching ability
- Ability to form new relationships
- Innovativeness and openness
- Ability to delegate to other team members
Provide Opportunities for Independent Thinking
Don’t try to micromanage employees all the time. Instead, allow them to make independent decisions to prepare themselves for life in leadership roles. Giving them the space to operate independently lets you see whether they have leadership potential or not.
Colleagues who trust in their own skills and decision-making abilities are often good candidates for more senior positions.
Offer Leadership Training And Apprenticeships
While some employees will grow in an unstructured environment, many require extensive training to develop themselves into competent leaders. That’s why it’s critical to offer leadership training to existing members of your organisation. Education introduces them to the landscape of leading a team.
Apprenticeships in leadership take this concept a stage further. Instead of passive training, these programmes immerse candidates in real-life leadership roles, allowing them to build skills in a supervised context until they’re ready to work by themselves.
Organisations can combine apprenticeships with mentorship programs to accelerate learning further. Senior employees can show junior members the ropes, preparing them for their new roles in the future.
To make this a reality, working with a reliable and experienced training provider can help.
Develop the future leaders of your organisation today
You need to ensure the future of your organisation is in good hands. You should turn to your existing team and identify future leaders who can take the business to new heights, but getting started is often the difficult part.
We offer plenty of tips and actionable advice in our ‘Leadership and Management’ brochure, packed full of insights to get your employees' careers as managers off the ground. Download it today to get a head start.