Strong leadership has never been more critical than it is today. Escalating global competition, rapidly evolving digital markets, and information-savvy consumers are challenging companies’ traditional business models and demanding change. Adapting to such a shifting playing field requires strong leaders.
Regrettably, leaders today more often than not find themselves designated as leaders for the wrong reasons. Research indicates that people moving into leadership roles come from one of three tracks. First, they do a good job and get promoted, such as an accountant who becomes the accounting manager, and an outstanding sales person who becomes sales manager. In other words, the promotion is based on their technical skills and job performance.
Second, because of loyalty to the organization. In other words, organizational experience and tenure lead to the promotion. Third, because of direct experience with “the boss.” Sometimes, that’s inside the organization, and sometimes it’s due to a prior relationship. Even blood relationships can come into play. One large but shrinking company I know of not only promotes their supervisors using these three criteria, but also compounds the mistake by failing to provide them with even minimal training. Predictably, the workplace is chaotic and contentious and the firm is losing ground in their marketplace.
Smart companies today know that competent management and leaders are just as critical a factor in enabling them to compete as quality of products and services. They are the engine that drives the actions of those they lead, which in turn affects the end-product the customer buys. Well-trained leaders and managers know that a company vision requires the knowledge and skills to bring that vision to fruition.