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What is Organizational Leadership?

Leaders don’t just lead, the same way chefs don’t just cook.

In a corporate environment, leaders must possess a variety of tools to ensure optimal performance. No tool is more critical than organizational skills, both in promoting and perpetuating the company’s goals and in organizing workers to embrace and achieve those goals by executing tasks and following through on plans.

This involves a three-pronged approach for leaders, according to the website, Practical Management.com.

Leaders need:

  • Vision to understand what needs to be achieved
  • A strategy for accomplishing the task
  • The ability to motivate and inspire others to execute the plan

Such attributes mark the difference between a leader and a manager. Employees choose to follow a leader, whereas they merely report to a manager.

Managers assign tasks, issue orders and measure performance. Leaders provide the reason why, for instance, a company is charting a new direction, and they help foster support for that direction by endearing workers to a shared goal.

Effective organizational leadership is defined, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle, by communicating efficiently so that the message is received throughout the entire company, delegating tasks to the right people with the best skills and, ultimately, being the best leader possible – someone who focuses his or her team on individual assignments without losing sight of the overall goal, who motivates and inspires exceptional performance and who coaches and cultivates talent, which returns value back to the company as a whole.

These skills are critical for successful organizational leadership. Without the support of his or her team, a leader risks having the organization fall behind its competitors in the marketplace or lose valuable public support and confidence.

Leadership, however, should not exist solely at the top.

Successful organizations depend on leaders throughout, on every floor and at every level, according to a Forbes magazine article about a Deloitte University Press survey.

The survey identified leadership as the top talent issue facing businesses and organizations across the globe, in part, due to the challenge of cultivating the next generation of leaders. Other hurdles that companies face include finding people who embrace innovation and inspire others to create, who can work on a global stage with confidence, and who understand emerging technologies, new disciplines and changing markets.

Deloitte’s analysis of the survey findings indicated that organizations need to develop leadership opportunities and pathways at every level.

Crafting such leadership programs isn’t without significant cost. It takes both a sustained and substantial investment to groom would-be leaders so they fully understand all company functions prior to being promoted to an executive level. And, according to the Forbes article, it can take between 18 months to three years for some professionals to be ready to step into a leadership role.

Cultivating leadership also requires established executives to consistently challenge potential leaders by placing them in situations outside their comfort zone or individual skills, and then coaching and supporting them to further their professional growth.

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