According to the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast, companies are facing a leadership crisis. In fact, only 11% of surveyed organizations reported having a “strong” or “very strong” leadership bench which is the lowest it’s been rated in the past decade. This is indeed a problem since organizations must have strong leaders to succeed. So how can companies invest wisely in developing their leaders? Through leadership development that focuses on the core skills of vision, alignment and execution.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren G. Bennis
The vision of a company is the overarching idea of what it hopes to become. It’s the guiding light by which the company will move down it’s chosen path. And although a vision doesn’t outline the steps that need to be taken to achieve it, it is the mental image that the leader must rally the rest of the employees around to be successful. But it doesn’t stop there.
The leader must continue over time to reinforce the vision and to keep it at the forefront by modeling the vision so that employees stay engaged and involved. This is of utmost importance because it shows a level of commitment to the cause and a willingness to work as hard as the leader expects everyone else to.
The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate.”
Harry A. Overstreet
Once the vision is in place a leader must rally the troops around it. To do so, their passion must be palpable. They need to build trust with their teams and they must be worthy of believing in. Sometimes leaders mistakenly believe that a vision on its own will cause people to get behind it. But the truth is, people need to see the leader talk the talk and walk the walk. These are the actions that cause people to buy in to an organization’s vision.
It’s important to also realize that that Lone Ranger leaders don’t succeed in the long term. Only on TV does one person swoop in and completely save the day. Instead, the leader must be a team player which means gaining the consensus of the rest of the leadership team so that the vision can trickle down to the management levels and beyond.
“Execution is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people with goals, and achieve the promised results.” Lawrence Bossidy
This is where the rubber meets the road; the strategy that will allow the team to fulfill the vision. And it’s often where things break down. There are two things to remember as you create your plan. First, it’s crucial to ensure that your team has a diversity of skills as well as a diversity of thought. This will allow you to see many possibilities and many possible solutions. Second, work to effectively communicate the vision and the plan for executing it on a regular basis. Keep the ‘why’ in front of your employees all the time. They need to be reminded often to keep them engaged.
At the End of the Day
To succeed at work a leader must be able to create a vision, align people around it and execute to it. And yet, leadership is lacking in organizations across the country and is at its lowest point in ten years. Action needs to be taken and it needs to be done now. Leadership development is essential to empowering leaders to do their best work, and yet only 5% of businesses have implemented leadership development at all levels of the organization.
If you would like to improve your vision, alignment, and execution skills, we offer a full-day program called Work of Leaders™ by Everything DiSC™. This program encourages leaders to understand their own leadership behaviors and how they impact their effectiveness. Call us today to learn more!
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