By Charles Alvarez , Contributor, the Price of Business Show. *
In order for an organization grow, identifying and grooming the future leaders of your company is of utmost importance. You would think with all of the books being written on leadership that the labor force would be more skilled in leadership abilities. The fact of the matter is that there remains a significant gap in leadership skills within the corporate hallways of America. This begs the question: why?
There are many answers to the reasons as to why there is a lack of leadership within organizations. The first reason is fear. Many CEOs that we work with are afraid of giving up control either because they do not trust in the abilities of their team or fear that they will loose control. The second reason is that, because of all of the information out there on leadership, there is a lack of clarity as to what leadership looks like on a day-to-day basis. The third reason is because the leadership team (the CEO, COO, and CFO) believes that it is just easier if they did it themselves versus teaching someone else how to do a particular task. Let’s now discuss how to address each of these issues.
Marilyn Ferguson, an influential author, said, “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” The fact of the matter is that if a CEO is afraid of delegating responsibility and holding those parties accountable to their work will never reach higher levels of success. The best way to overcome this is by delegating tasks that have low risks and low consequences. Often, many CEOs do not want to delegate responsibility because they have not taken the time to understand who is capable of assuming that responsibility. For an engineering company we consult for, the CEO was scared to death to delegate sales to a Project Manager that demonstrated strong selling skills. We worked with his team to document the sales process and put scripts together to keep the project manager on point. The end result was that the Project Manager was able to sell a $450,000 engineering project. See how fear can hold an organization back?
The second biggest issue with leadership is that there is confusion as to what leadership means. The best definition we have heard on leadership is that leadership is where the leader (or leaders) determines the vision of the company and then aligns that vision with what each individual employee wants to accomplish in their careers. In other words, leadership is creating unity and singleness of purpose where most (if not all) parties have a vested interest in achieving the objectives of the company. Most business suffer because key people leave to other places where they believe they can achieve their goals. The sad part about that is that during the exit interview, we often see that the reason people leave is because they did not feel like a vital part of the organization and were not given direction (a.k.a. leadership) as to how to grow within the company.
The final reason why leadership is lacking in an organization is because many leaders believe that it would be faster to just do the task rather than delegate it. This thinking is actually true – short term. While it may speed the process for the short term, this thinking does nothing to grow its people and allow the leader or manager to progress in their career. Yes, it may require spending extra time and effort to train the delegate on the task. However, the long-term rewards are more than worth it.
Sponsored by the Price of Business, on Bloomberg’s home in Houston, TX