Leadership development: Developing a culture of leadership throughout the organisation
In the 21st century form of management, organisations are recognising that leadership does not solely rely on the C-suite, but is necessary at every level of the organisation. As a result, organisations are making additional effort to develop leaders throughout the organisation. Not only is this putting organisations at better competing positions, but enabling succession planning without much disruption within the organisation should top leadership change.
With this in mind, organisations are continually seeking ways to develop a culture of leadership within the organisation. Most importantly, it is the role of leaders to influence this form of culture and influence the overall direction of the organisation. How can leaders develop a culture of leadership throughout the organisation?
Decentralisation of decision-making helps create and empower leaders at different levels of the organisation. Delegation of authority helps employees learn to take responsibility hence developing leadership traits in them. Leaders can develop qualities such as accountability through delegation through which they can also be taught to delegate as well. Delegation is effective when employees are empowered and equipped with the right sets of skills and knowledge to execute the tasks allocated. The more empowered employees are, the better they are able to take leadership responsibility and make appropriate decisions. Delegation also allows leaders to rid of mundane tasks and focus on the growth of the organisation and this benefits those delegated to as they learn to take on some leadership roles.
As aforementioned, delegation is effective when employees are well averse with the area of work. Coaching on the other hand involves providing support and direction to employees as they execute tasks. A coach therefore does not delegate the tasks and wait for results, but instead, he/she is there with the employees at every step of the activity offering support and direction. This way, the employee becomes equipped and gains confidence to take on minor leadership roles. Most times, coaching goes hand in hand with mentorship discussed below.
Mentorship programs are great in developing a leadership culture throughout the organisation. Such is developed by encouraging employees to team up with leaders in the organisation to learn leadership. Depending on organisation’s mentorship programs, some organisations seek external mentors to execute this form of leadership development. External mentors have the benefit of not getting involved in internal politics of the organisation and bringing new knowledge to the table. Internal mentors on the other hand understand clearly the needs of the organisation and are able to guide employees such that they grow forms of leadership that are aligned with the organisational culture.
Empowerment through training and leadership development programs creates a culture conducive to developing leaders. Leadership development programs are taking effect in organisations to teach employee the importance of leadership and how they can be leaders in the different positions that they hold. The organisation can also plan for training and development programs that can help impart knowledge and skills on employees that will help them become leaders in their everyday work.
In a nutshell, for a culture of leadership development throughout the organisation to grow, leaders must be willing to let go of power and authority and pass it down the chain. They must also acknowledge that learning is crucial to developing leadership and encourage continuous learning throughout the organisation whether it is learning on-the-job or off-the-job, and encourage learning to develop leaders at all levels.