Leadership is often misunderstood as a quality that people either have or don’t have. Yet research proves this isn’t true; leaders can be groomed and trained. Although different methodologies and approaches can have varying levels of success, it often also depends on the individuals involved and the circumstances surrounding them. Some leaders take time to build up their skills and confidence while others, like diamonds, can only be polished under intense pressure. Not all leaders are created the same way.
Regardless of how leaders emerge, each and every one of them requires the same core proficiencies and skills that will grant them the knowledge to utilise specific tools to achieve desired outcomes. This is even more essential when leadership teams are involved because not only does each leader have to consider the people they are leading, they also have to factor in their working relationship with the other leaders at the table. Disagreements and contrary views, while generally common and healthy within leadership teams, can sometimes lead to paralysis or uncertainty, which can be devastating. Cooperation is key and is often a result of consistent effort.
What should unite leadership teams however is the desire to continue and build upon the hard work of their predecessors as well as to take their organization to greater heights.
Here are the top three things that leadership teams everywhere need in order to achieve real results during their tenure, each of them as vital as the next.
1) Decision Making Tools
Leaders make decisions; there is no escaping this one vital burden that every leader has to shoulder. The best leaders of large corporations will often need to strike a fine balance between being bold enough to challenge the competition and being prudent enough to minimise risk. They often rely on data provided by their subordinates. Some rely on the instincts they have spent decades nurturing. Either way, there is no denying that making the right call at the right juncture, especially within the context of today’s challenging environment, often mean the difference between profit and loss.
For leadership teams, there is another layer to navigate: leaders often have to agree on a decision as a team.
At PEPWorldwide Asia, we use our Impact Map to ensure that the decisions we make are the right ones. After all, everyone wants the course of action they choose to take to generate positive outcomes for their teams and their organizations. Our Impact Map has become essential to its many users in plotting out the many potential outcomes of the various options available, allowing us to make informed decisions; it has become the decision-making tool of choice for many high-performing leaders.
2) People Management Kit
The very word “leader” comes from the Old English noun “lædan” or “to guide, bring forward”. The very idea of a leader has thus always been predicated upon the people behind them. Thus, people management isn’t just central to a leader’s role, it is intimately defined by it. It is thus essential for leaders to have the knowledge, experience, and the tools necessary to guide the people who rely on them to lead the way forward. As a leadership team, this translates to having a people management plan in place, which will then determine the set of tools available to the leadership team to execute that plan.
We can think of this set of tools as a People Management Kit.
Because people and People Management are complex and complicated, People Management Kits should encompass a rather wide variety of tools, each tailored for a specific purpose related to managing, developing and capitalising on the employees of their organization. The exact tools themselves may vary from industry to industry and company to company depending on their specific needs but most of them are relevant in some way to all corporations.
Most leaders will need something to facilitate team communication (Outlook, Slack) and perhaps another for the occasional team-building exercise (Staff Retreats). They should also have tools to keep track of the work they are delegating to the teams and individuals taking instruction from them. Conflict resolution, negotiation, benefits, even learning and development policies (3-Day PEP), all comes under People Management.
With the right tools being used in tandem with the right plans, leadership teams will be able to engage, activate and channel the energy and talent of the people they work with toward bringing forth great results, even when working against the odds. That’s often the only thing that we remember most great leaders in history for.
3) Strategic Framework
Leadership teams of large organizations often inherit strategic plans and frameworks from their predecessors. These include things like mission statements, company vision, core values, operational conventions, business development tactics, and key objectives.
In fact, leaders are often chosen based on their ability to either sustain the current strategic framework that’s already in place or to build upon them. There are times, however, when a new leadership team is set up precisely to overturn or revamp old structures, ideas, and procedures, especially in today’s age of uncertainty and disruption.
Either way, leadership teams serve as the source and enforcers of whatever strategic framework that a company has to have in order to distinguish themselves from their competition and progress forward. By providing a sound strategic framework and implementing policies and procedures that adhere to that framework closely, leadership teams will not only provide long-term clarity to their organizations but also clear short-term goals and the next steps that need to be taken.
This allows everyone to move towards the same direction in a concerted effort, which minimises the paralysis that’s caused by confusion, that often leads to stasis and stagnation.
Leading With Knowledge
The best, most confident leaders are often also the most agile and adaptable, and those who are agile and adaptable are often the best equipped in terms of the experience, the skills and the tools they have at their disposal. Truly effective leaders have the knowledge to use what they have to make the right decisions, provide guidance to their organization, and provide long-term strategic vision.
About the Contributor:
Hidhir Razak is the Corporate Relations Manager of PEPWorldwide Asia. An ardent believer of the power of storytelling and its unique ability to bring people and communities together, Hidhir is a reader, writer, and researcher by training. His articles have appeared on The Middle Ground, Yahoo Singapore, and Poetry.sg while his creative works have appeared in numerous anthologies and collections in Singapore. He holds a Master of Arts degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where he specialised in English and Creative Writing.