Why should every company invest in its leadership capabilities now?

| June 1, 2022

It is the quality of leadership that drives the success of every organisation (no matter its size). So why are we assuming that those around the table do not need to develop? Maybe it is easier to fire them and hope that the next manager will deliver, but this might not happen…

“First, Let’s Fire All the Managers”- Seriously?

In 2011 HBR published an article by Gary Hamel titled “First, Let’s Fire All the Managers”. In the article, the author argued that management is the least efficient activity in every organisation. Mangers add overhead, increase the complexity of decision making, complicate the approval processes, delay responses to opportunities and market threats and create hierarchies that disempower lower-level employees. While the article title had a great headline, it called for reducing hierarchies, becoming agile, developing great organisational cultures and high-performing engaged teams.

In other words, you don’t need to fire all the managers; you need to invest in your leadership capabilities across the organisation. You want to ensure that your leaders and successors excel at driving performance while at the same time developing a great culture and building engaged, high-performing teams.

The best leaders

The best leaders drive high standards results while developing the culture and building engaged, high-performing teams. Unfortunately, being good at only one of these two qualities is not enough. Managers who drive their teams for extraordinary results while forgetting that they are humans lose their top team members. Managers who care about the culture and team engagement, but don’t drive high performance and results, also lose their best-talented team members.

We need our leaders at all organisational levels (from team leaders to top executives) to excel in these two essential qualities. Hence, the need to invest in developing capabilities such as:

  1. Strategy, vision and business acumen
  2. Developing a strong culture
  3. Communication skills- communicating the strategy and managing difficult conversations
  4. Building High-Performing Teams
  5. Driving performance- establishing stretching goals, providing feedback
  6. Talent development and retention
  7. Employee wellbeing
  8. Developing the future leaders

A good leader develops trust, models a high level of integrity, builds a positive culture and develops the team. But none of us was born great leaders, and all of us need to continue developing our leadership skills. The answer to the question ‘Are we there yet?’ is probably ‘Never’.

The high costs of not developing leadership across the organisation

Ignoring the development of leadership capabilities across the organisation is a pricy mistake. When companies focus their training programs on regulatory and technical knowledge and skills, they keep investing in training because of the revolving door. High employee turnover = $$$.

It is the leadership that attracts and develops talent; it is the leadership that navigates the organisation to achieve its strategic goals successfully. Therefore, it is the leadership capabilities in which we must invest.

Case study: DifferenThinking’s unique leadership programs

Through the facilitation of leadership development programs, DifferenThinking helped numerous organisations unlock their internal culture and leadership potential and capabilities, charging them for sustained success through innovation, culture, and people growth strategies. DifferenThinking has four unique programs that it tailors to each of its clients:

  • Leadership Core Skills– turning new and emerging managers into leaders
  • Ethics-First Culture– embedding ethics deep in your culture, designed for senior and executive leaders
  • Innovation Culture– accelerating the momentum with innovation, designed for senior and executive leaders
  • Improve decision making by eliminating blind spots– identifying biases in strategic thinking and risk management, and strengthening the decision-making processes designed for the board of directors and senior leadership.

The programs are based on rich personal and team diagnostic tools and offer a variety of practical tools for immediate implementation. Murray, CEO in the textile sector, said that “the DifferenThinking program is a great opportunity to learn straight-forward and pragmatic tools that can be used immediately in the day-to-day context of managing organisations”. Aude, Head of Finance and Operations in the IT sector, stated that the program “allowed our business to go to the next level. I learnt key tools to run a high performing team and work more efficiently as a leader”.

When the talent market is tight and uncertain, resignations are fast and frequent, and recruitment is lengthy, every company must strengthen its leadership capabilities.

It is a small investment for long-term success!