With the transient nature of today’s managers and the ever increasing changes in economic landscapes, being an effective organizational leader is more important than ever. For this reason, many leaders are looking for ways to grow and adapt their leadership skills. The discipline of Organizational Leadership is focused on the development of transferable leadership skills that regardless of industry, function, or role will be applicable to managing and leading teams. To be an effective organizational leader, you should focus on being well rounded by developing in 4 core leadership competencies.
First, there must be a solid understanding of the organizational structure and cultural norms. Understanding these and leveraging emotional intelligence ensures that, as a leader, you are making not just the right decisions but the right decisions for your particular political landscape.
Next, effective organizational leadership is achieved by being a change agent. Leaders need to be adept at innovating and driving constant improvements through change. This helps the business and the people involved to continually be challenged to grow. This continual growth drives employee engagement and ensures that the business keeps up with the demands of an ever changing marketplace.
In addition, a key characteristic of leadership is focusing on performance management. This means coaching improved performance, developing inside talent, appraising performance, and providing growth opportunities. It should be noted that this is a foundational aspect to organizational leadership. Without a strong focus on managing performance, taking additional steps to improve or drive change will be moot as the leader has not yet established a performance based culture. It’s hard to improve what you’re not already managing.
Finally, a key aspect of effective organizational leadership is strategy development. A strong leader should be adept at understanding the environment (both internally and externally), identifying the opportunities, and ultimately crafting a strategic plan to meet the challenges head on. This plan should also be a point to rally the team or organization around that focuses on executing through others.
How to develop organizational leadership skills?
There are a number of paths to building effective organizational leadership skills. Those early in their careers may consider a degree program as an option. A number of universities are now offering curriculum based on this model to grow well rounded leaders. The more historically common approach is through a robust set of experiences. Organizational leadership is not grown overnight but takes years of experience and learning to hone the core competencies. The more experience you have in a variety of leadership positions, the greater your ability to identify and hone the transferable skills needed to be an effective organizational leader.