When it comes to achieving lasting results for your business, few things are more important than strong organizational leadership. From strategic partnerships to relations with employeesorganizational leadership is critical to unlocking the full potential of your business, regardless of your niche.
By truly understanding what organizational leadership is and how it can transform your business for the better, you can begin implementing the necessary changes that will have a lasting impact.
Organizational leadership begins with a vision
Southern New Hampshire University defines organizational leadership as “a management approach in which leaders help set strategic goals for the organization while motivating individuals within the group to successfully complete tasks in service of those goals.”
Let’s start with the first part — setting strategic goals. Strong organizational leadership begins with strategic goals that help define the company’s mission and vision. Without actionable goals to work towards, an organization will be directionless, no matter how strong its products or services are.
Your strategic goals, vision and mission should guide every decision your organization makes. They can dictate everything from how you market to potential customers to your approach to introducing new products and services. They create performance standards for your organization and its members. They can even influence who you hire!
Most importantly, they give you something to strive for. Organizational leadership must have a strong strategic vision as a foundation—otherwise, what are you leading your team toward? This vision and mission can be especially important when you are faced with difficult decisions. Staying focused on your vision will help you act with courage, integrity and transparency as you strive for the best results.
Organizational leadership empowers your team
Of course, just as important to a vision and mission supported by strong strategic goals is the mindset you use to motivate and empower your team, helping them unlock their full potential as they strive to bring that vision to life.
Even when organizational leaders do not always have direct contact with the people they lead (especially in larger companies), their actions can drive desired outcomes among their team members. Harvard Business School notes that effective organizational leaders use their qualities, competencies and practices to convey the vision to their team, lead by example and encourage and enable change. They set a culture that will either fulfill or undermine the company’s vision and goals.
A strong communication backbone is especially powerful in achieving desired results for company culture. In fact, effective communication plans make teams 3.5 times likely to outperform their competitors while also improving employee retention by 4.5x.
Like Dan Durkee, author, county fire marshal and vice president Drake Durkee Foundation, explained to me during a recent phone conversation: “Effectively communicating the organization’s vision and mission, fostering buy-in and initiative to build an outstanding culture, and effectively coordinating membership efforts to achieve those goals requires honest, direct, and transparent communication. The ability to coordinate these efforts and communicate in a positive manner can be of great importance in saving lives and property.”
Durkee continued, “Leaders in any organization must become strong communicators to build the desired culture and keep everyone working toward the mission. Good communication helps everyone understand the importance of their role and do their best by ensuring they understand what is expected of them and inspiring them to be the best they can be.”
Finally, at the end of the day, organizational leaders must embody the values they want their team to practice. Team members will quickly realize if their leaders’ actions are not in line with the stated vision. Being true to the vision and goals and serving as a positive and motivating influence is key to creating buy-in and driving improvement throughout the organization.
Organizational leadership emphasizes humility and growth
Finally, it is important to keep in mind what successful organizational leadership entails for the leaders themselves — namely, that they are never done learning and improving. In your own efforts to set strategic goals and motivate others, you are likely to become aware of your own shortcomings.
That’s perfectly fine.
In fact, recognizing that you have areas where you need to improve is a good thing, as it can spark change that helps you become better at directing your organization and motivating your team. The most effective leaders are humble and willing to use self-reflection as they continue to improve. They are not satisfied with the status quo and look for their own opportunities to improve while encouraging similar results among their team.
Of course, this makes the best leaders open to input from others. They understand that they are not always the smartest person in the room and that great ideas can come from anyone. By taking advantage of opportunities to learn from partners, employees and others, I can foster a mindset of continuous self-improvement for myself and my organization.
Make a transformation
A strong business acumen will only take you so far. If you don’t have a clear vision, strong strategic goals, or a mentoring, motivational approach to your team, your organization will fall far short of its potential.
By adopting the principles of organizational leadership in your own business, you will become a better leader. A better strategic partner. A better mentor. All of these things can pay dramatic long-term dividends for your company, allowing you to make the most of the talent around you (including your own) as you work to grow your business.
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