Leadership Development

    Developing trusted and relationally competent leaders

    Leadership is critical in these three areas:

    1

    Driving engagement for increased performance and top talent retention

    2

    Leading and managing change to overcome organisational resistance

    3

    Building C-Suite effectiveness for a thriving organisation

    1. Driving Engagement

    Leadership is a key contributing factor to engagement. Leaders need to take the initiative in building engagement. This is important because organisations with high engagement tend to be more profitable and are able to retain their top talent better.

    How does engagement impact performance and retention?

    The relationship between employee engagement and performance is undeniable. Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report shares that “when taken together, the behaviours of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability”.

    Gallup’s report revealed that when top talent are disengaged they are one of the most likely to leave their organisations. Millennials, who are quickly becoming the majority of today's workforce, are reportedly the least engaged and are less loyal than previous generations.

     

    People leave managers, not companies

    According to Gallup, managers account for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. When employees are disengaged and turnover among top performers is high, it has to do with leadership.

     

    Relational traits are crucial for a leader to engage his team

    3 things a leader cannot fail to do in building engagement:

    • Ensure that employees feel respected and valued
    • Create an atmosphere of trust
    • Achieve alignment in expectations and objectives

    The value of leaders with humility

    The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the value of leaders with humility: Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years. Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.

    Leaders need relational traits such as humility and the ability to motivate and inspire, in order to drive engagement and retain key talent.

    2. Leading & Managing Change

    A disrupted economy puts an organisation’s leadership to the test. It’s not an exaggeration to say that leaders make or break the change initiative.

    Harvard Business Review goes so far as to say that “Transformation journeys run out of steam when companies neglect leadership development.” Organisations need the stability good leadership brings, especially in this time of inevitable and rapid change.

    “Transformation journeys run out of steam when companies neglect leadership development.”  
    — Harvard Business Review

     

    Organisational resistance to change

    Employees experience anxiety, uncertainty, and discomfort in times of change. That is why organisational resistance to change is a major barrier to transformation efforts. Leaders need to engage and align people to get buy-in, but this is hindered by low trust and safety. Without trust and safety, staff are risk-averse, unwilling to try new things.

    A leader’s response to resistance to change is key

    Leaders must be able to to recognise and respond to the thoughts and emotions of their employees in order to gain their trust and lead them effectively through change.

    During transformation projects, the focus tends to be on updating business processes, operational efficiency, and smooth integration of new technologies. However, the key to success of organisational change is people, and focus needs to shift to the people aspect of the transformation.

    Leaders must be able to to recognise and respond to the thoughts and emotions of their employees in order to gain their trust and lead them effectively through change.

    3. Building C-Suite Effectiveness

    Leadership needs to be cohesive and stable to enable a high performing organisation. To steward an organisation well, the top echelons need to be trusted, nimble, inclusive, consultative, able to communicate a clear vision, and influence and manage multiple stakeholders.

    The C-Suite must model the type of leadership a company desires. If they are not leading effectively, the organisation will stagnate or even decline over time.

    The C-Suite Team sets the direction for the organisation

    The entire organisation takes its cue from the C-suite team. That is why teamwork at the senior leadership level is so crucial. They need to be a cohesive team, aligned in their vision for the company so that the rest of the organisation can follow suit.

    "Companies that are highly engaged have one thing in common: They have highly engaged leadership at all levels of the organization", Forbes.com says.

    The C-suite is responsible for demonstrating expected behaviour in the company, upholding the company’s values, and modeling the highest standards of excellence. This responsibility comes with being at the top.

    To navigate today’s constantly changing business environment and address cross-disciplinary challenges, a company’s top leaders must act as one." — Deloitte

    Why are senior leadership teams lacking in cohesiveness and effectiveness?

    C-Suite are highly accomplished, intelligent, experienced, skilled, and respected individuals in functional areas. It is not unusual for leaders of such high calibre to encounter friction within their team. Alignment in vision is a challenge when there are different agendas and objectives.

    When egos clash, and leaders behave in a territorial manner, they can become guarded, affecting their ability and willingness to communicate with one another. This closed behavior breeds mistrust.

    For the organisation to move forward, these unhealthy C-Suite dynamics need to be addressed. Companies today cannot afford to have leaders who have strong self-interest and a C-Suite team that is not collaborating synergistically.

    Why are senior leadership teams lacking in cohesiveness and effectiveness?

    What qualities do senior leaders need to drive cohesiveness and effectiveness?

    The Straits Times recently featured an article identifying self-awareness as a key trait lacking in CEOs who were recently forced to relinquish their leadership positions (Elon Musk who stepped down as Chairman of Tesla and Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber).

    “Uber "is the very definition of a toxic leadership culture" and Mr Kalanick ‘set the tone’”, the article says.

    “There is a strong positive correlation between self-awareness of leaders, their authentic behaviours and, consequently, their leadership effectiveness”, Straits Times says.

     

    “There is a strong positive correlation between self-awareness of leaders, their authentic behaviours and, consequently, their leadership effectiveness”, Straits Times says.

    The Straits Times highlights self-awareness as the “meta-skill of the 21st century”, according to leadership coach Dr Tasha Ulrich. “The qualities most critical for success in today's world—things like emotional intelligence, empathy, influence, persuasion, communication and collaboration—all stem from self-awareness. It is what makes us great team players, superior leaders and great relationship builders”.

    To become cohesive and trusted team, C-Suite leaders need self-awareness, emotional intelligence and relational competencies.

    Relational competencies are key for leaders today

    A study featured at Harvard Business Review found that according to leaders around the world, the highest ranking traits of effective leaders are attributes that create a safe and trusting environment. To successfully drive engagement, lead and manage change, and have effective C-Suite teams, leaders need people skills—relational competencies.

    Our Perspective

    What Relational Leadership can do for your organisation