Do competent leaders achieve better results?
The answer to this question is: sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
This makes it clear to me that a perfect match with the ideal competence cocktail of knowledge, skills and attitude does not provide a fool proof guarantee for achieving the desired results. So, we can critically ask ourselves whether a manager’s degree of competence is the determining factor after all. Does this mean that it does not make sense to improve the competencies of leaders? Of course not, but the direct correlation with the hard results is not evident nor obvious.
Having the necessary skills for the job as a manager is the starting point of a winding and uncertain course, but does not guarantee a successful arrival with applause at the finish line. This is a very important conclusion at the leadership development level.
5 tips on leadership development in your organization (based on our experience in guiding dozens of real-life cases):
- The ultimate goal of leadership development is to achieve the desired results. All efforts must be aimed at that ultimate goal and not at the intermediate steps.
- Everyone should be at the same page. The best strategy for confusion and energy loss: have a number of executives take a medium-term training, send senior executives to a prestigious institution, leave certain groups to their fate and have others take a two-day in-house training.
- In line with your strategic priorities, create a clear image of the desired leadership style in your organization. What are the clear expectations? What measurable output do you expect?
- In line with this leadership style, a learning process can be developed and this in cascade for everyone. Top managers are involved, but also the team leaders with the lowest ranking actively take part. It is essential that the organizational culture is directed consciously.
- A learning process is no training or course. Be innovative and open all registers and provide a result-oriented mix of mentoring, pear learning, coach the coach, blended learning, measurement tools, creative workshops, dialogue sessions with employees and so on.
Obviously, the necessary competencies remain important both for those who becomes a team leader or manager for the first time as for those who take the next step in their career. Take on a new leading role is an important challenge. 50% of the ‘new’ leaders fail in the first 18 months which is mostly due to mistakes made in their first 100 days.
In their book (“The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan”. How to Take Charge, Build Your Team and Get Immediate Results, the three experts G. Bradt, J. Check and J. Pedraza provide practical guidelines to successfully complete the transition to a new leading role and to achieve the desired results. Here, leadership means creating an environment where the team achieves extraordinary results while having a lot of fun. Leadership is not about yourself, but about the people you are leading. What matters most is what they hear, feel and believe and how they work together as a team.
10 Tips to achieve the best results with a new team
- Create your new leadership role: understand and know your own leadership qualities, abilities and limits.
- Identify and avoid the most common pitfalls: lack of a clear, precise and winning strategy, unaligned expectations, resources or stakeholders, failure to collect information on the 5 Cs (customers, collaborators, capabilities, competitors, conditions) and inability to achieve results.
- Take charge of your own start. This starts from the moment you qualify for the new leadership position.
- Decide on how to deal with the new culture. Culture is defined here as: being (how the people are, with the prejudices, assumptions, intentions), doing (behavioural standards) and saying (mission, stories).
- Take the lead from Day 1: make a powerful first impression.
- Establish a strong plan before Day 30. This plan consists of: mission, vision, objectives, strategy and values.
- Develop key milestones in terms of team performance before Day 45.
- Over-invest in quick wins to strengthen the trust before Day 60.
- Anchor among employees the right roles with the right support before Day 70.µ
- Develop employees, plans and processes to achieve results in changing circumstances after Day 100.
Read more in the summary of the book.
The New Leader s 100 Day action Plan