It is often believed that your company is only as good as the company leaders. What this essentially means is that any forward-thinking organisation prioritises identifying, training, and building a pool of talented leaders from various departments and hierarchies – not just the CXOs and the top-level management.
In that regard, the best company leaders are those who understand the importance of navigating the shifts and challenges of the future via highly effective embedded leadership development programmes for employees at all levels. Research states that 77% of companies are facing a profound leadership crunch, thus leaving them with massive holes across various critical functions. This gap can be plugged in by developing a company-wide strategy to churn out leaders from within.
So, how can you identify the leaders of tomorrow and train them to ensure a bigger, brighter, and better future for your company? Here is a short guide.
Modern-Day Company Leaders: Where Are They?
As already stated previously, many corporate leaders and industry visionaries have bemoaned the lack of employee leadership in today’s business world. On the other hand, employees believe that adequate opportunities for upskilling leadership are not available across companies. This has led many with innate leadership qualities to leave for better career opportunities – mostly in the entrepreneurial world – to realise their leadership potential.
What this means is that top company leaders in India must shift their focus to developing and implementing innovative and effective leadership development programmes across their organisations.
As Sanjiv Bajaj, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv, who is widely regarded as one of the most inspirational business leaders in India at present, says, “Leadership is not to be learnt, it is something to be developed. True leadership comes from a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset.”
Sanjiv Bajaj’s leadership development methodology can be attributed to encouraging ownership of work, removing siloes at workspaces, and creating an environment of success that prizes risk-taking. Often, employees with leadership potential treat their work as a very personal matter. This is where a sense of ownership enables them to commit to a project and do everything possible to drive it to success. Sanjiv Bajaj, therefore, believes in equipping employees to ‘think like owners’ and be willing to take risks. Learning and upskilling via working on cross-functional projects and teams is also a novel, experiential way to develop leaders.
Ultimately, leadership development at an organisation begins by identifying the leaders of tomorrow.
Understanding the Qualities of an Individual with Leadership Potential
In essence, leaders must inspire trust, make sound judgments, and assist their organisations in succeeding. However, when it comes to the characteristics that support these talents, excellent leadership is difficult to measure because the definition varies based on the firm, objectives, culture, and team.
In other words, numerous variables contribute to a strong leader. Here are a few that will help successful business leaders in India identify organisational leadership talent better:
A leader is not merely someone who assumes the responsibilities of a team’s captain. He or she is also a team member who should understand how to use their teammate’s greatest attributes to advance. Good leaders must have compassion and empathy to genuinely comprehend the people with whom they work. A true leader will respect opposing viewpoints and work to find common ground within the group.
As the Chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra – one of the top company leaders in India – puts it: “Thinking with both the left and right hemispheres of the brain is not a cakewalk for a lot of leaders. However, those who do it well, stand out in the volatile business environment and make it through. These are what he terms as ‘Renaissance Leaders’, and discovering them and equipping them has been one of the key strategies of the Mahindra Group. Thus, employees who display the ability to think visually have great potential to become vital organisational leaders.
In the rapidly evolving business world, the ability to pivot changes and be dynamic and flexible is key. Individuals who are adept at such tactics can be future visionaries who prioritise preparation as well as adaptation in their business strategy for success.
Developing Leaders: Implementing the Right Programme
Upskilling and supporting your employees and future leaders is the greatest strategy to assist them in improving their leadership characteristics. This should be achieved via thoroughly developed programmes.
A prime example is how the TATA Group under the leadership of JRD Tata and, of course, former Chairman Ratan Tata, has developed a talent grooming programme – the Tata Administrative Services – based on the British administrative model. The in-house programme focuses on transforming employees through training and upskilling into high performers, so that they become changemakers across the conglomerate through their leadership qualities.
Ultimately, the emphasis of such programmes should not just be on strengthening their goal-setting and goal-tracking processes. Goal attainment and value generation must get equal importance. The need of the hour is to develop a unified strategy with distinct design components of responsibility, engagement, effect, and sustainability.
Bringing a group of future leaders together, whether through online instructional training or in-person workshops, develops rapport and helps the organisation to exhibit key attributes in an individual. When you have group leaders in a training program, they may depend on one another when difficulties develop long after the programme is over.
Companies under top businessmen in India must, therefore, use an integrated leadership training method to attain their objectives. It should include design components for developing important leadership abilities, providing opportunity to apply the skills quickly, and obtaining constructive feedback.
Doing so would be transformative for employee leaders and managers, allowing them to align themselves more intrinsically with the company vision and deliver business success while also driving forward a leadership culture. By honing the latent potential of people, top company leaders like Sanjiv Bajaj, Anand Mahindra, and Ratan Tata have set benchmarks of success for modern organisations to follow. Now, it is your turn!