Sitting with a senior management team this week, we were talking about the relationship dynamics between certain individuals and the best way to address the impact that conflict was having on the organisation.
Inevitably the conversation turned to leadership behaviours (or lack of them); the need to raise individual awareness about their contribution as senior team members; and recognition of the impact of their current management style on others.
The Managing Director then said “I believe leaders are born not made. If they’re not born with it then there’s nothing you can do”.
Whilst I understand his position, I have a different view. You CAN teach people the skills of leadership; I’ve done that time and again with great success. What is nigh on impossible however, is trying to make leaders out of individuals who are not interested in people.
You’d be surprised how often employees are promoted to management status based solely on their technical ability; with no consideration given to their skill in getting the best out of others. The result is a company of people ‘working in silos’ rather than as teams. The business impact is evidenced by diminishing returns.
That seems illogical to me. As a CEO or Managing Director why would you promote people into positions of responsibility over others unless you believe they have the capability – and the ‘interest’ – to deliver? That would be like throwing money on a bonfire.
Many promotions are standalone decisions; a knee jerk reaction to an immediate business need or an attempt to recognise someone for being good at their current job. Done in isolation without sight of the bigger picture is to put the organisation at risk; if not now then further down the line.
A much better approach is to take a holistic view of the wider business need; to have a strategy for developing leadership talent and a plan for when they exit the company (which shouldn’t then come as a surprise).
So, if you recognise a gap in your succession planning, now is the time to get that on track. We can help you identify and develop employees with the potential to fill key leadership positions in the company; either now or in the future. Don’t be caught out; that time may come sooner than you think!