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Leaders can appear at all levels of an organisation. But for an organisation to succeed in the modern world these individuals need to be great, not just good. The challenge comes in defining how you judge what a great leader is? And then how do you support your leaders to be and do better?  

 

What does it mean to be a great leader today? 

The world today is a very different one to three years ago. That means that the best leaders for the modern world have had to adapt and evolve. Great leadership is now based around uncertainty, guiding employees through this environment, planning for the future and steadying the ship.  

For leaders that’s required a shift away from traditional leadership to a more modern approach. Traditional leaders rely on tried and tested methods, keeping a firm grip on what’s happening and adopting a top-down decision-making process.  

This style of leadership relies more heavily on soft skills, emotional intelligence, communication, empowerment and mentorship. Employees feel a 102% increase in motivation levels when their leader is an active mentor, showing the power of great leaders for employee engagement. Modern leadership focuses on employees and connecting them with purpose, achievements and building strong teams.   

The most prominent qualities associated with the best leaders in the modern world are: 

  • Trust 
  • Enablement 
  • Humility 
  • Empathy 
  • Recognition 

Great leaders in today’s world balance emotion with reason with business acumen with uncertainty. Creating a unique blend of positivity and reassurance that drives an organisation forward despite any challenging global circumstances. 

 

Organisational benefits of great leadership 

What’s clear is that great leadership is paramount to an organisation’s success, or failure. Whether that’s through smart business decisions or the wider impact across the organisation and its employees, the best leaders deliver a range of benefits, including:  

  • Engagement:  Strong leaders create happier employees who are more engaged and are more likely to remain loyal to the organisation for longer.  
  • Clarity: Whether that’s through a clearly defined mission statement, goals and values or through regular communication organisation-wide. 
  • Survive and thrive from change: The ability to face change and make the necessary adaptations to thrive is a true benefit of having a great leader. 

The impact goes further than that though. Research by Zenger and Folkman found that the best leaders can double an organisation’ profits. While a study by Gallup stated great leaders contributed to a 147% increase in profit per share. Demonstrating that the business benefits of a modern great leader can be seen in both the bottom line and the productivity of the team.

 

The cost of ineffective leadership 

It comes as no surprise, then, that poor leaders or managers without any leadership qualities can damage an organisation, not just in a financial sense but also in terms of employee engagement and happiness.  

Poor leadership can result in a high employee turnover, which in turn creates greater employee and recruitment costs, with 75% of employees considering their boss “the worst part of their job” according to Hogan Assessments. This ultimately leads to lack of engagement, lower productivity and a negative working environment. In fact, research by Forbes found that poor leadership was the single greatest cause for employee disengagement and absenteeism.  

Limiting access to leadership development can cost an organisation 7% of their total annual sales for every year it delays. With leadership training unlikely to cost that much, and combined with the positive impact of great leaders it seems curious that more organisations don’t embed leadership development into their organisation from the start.  

 

The leadership quandary 

With the importance placed of strong leadership skills rising, it raises the question of whether everyone possesses them. Research shows that only 10% of people are natural leaders with another 20% demonstrating qualities that could be cultivated into high-quality leadership.  

However, leadership doesn’t have to come naturally to everyone. Instead, investing in the right support and development opportunities is key. 83% of organisations believe it’s important to develop leaders at every level, but only 5% have implemented development opportunities presenting a real risk to an organisation. 

If organisations aren’t prioritising leadership development and instead are relying on people’s existing skillset then it can be assumed that there are many people in existing leadership positions who perhaps shouldn’t be. That they were promoted because of their tenure or sector knowledge, rather than leadership abilities. But it’s been found that leadership is the most important skill for a manager according to nearly half of UK adults surveyed.  

Which means it’s time to invest in leadership teams, invest in training and invest in the future success of an organisation. Leaders who received training to develop their skills experienced a boost in job performance, essential to cope with our ever-changing modern world. 

For great leaders to thrive in the modern world of work, leadership development and training is essential, not optional. If you want to boost your leader’s performance by strengthening your current leadership team, or by embedding skills in future leaders, please contact us about our Leadership Coaching & Training and inspire and motivate your leaders for success.