Through working with organizations, speaking to their leaders, training workers in conferences, reading reports about organizational performances, and observation of many others, I have found out that good and effective leadership is the main factor in the success of excellent organizations. Similarly, ineffective leadership is the chief cause of crippled organizations. True to say, everything rises and falls on leadership. I have come to the conclusion that if any organization is to grow and be successful in achieving its goals and objectives, then the starting point must be on its leadership.
Compassion and Care:
If the leaders are compassionate and caring, the workers will enjoy a safe and secure working environment wherein individual effectiveness thrives. The caring and compassionate hand of the leader hides the nakedness of the workers. They are not afraid to put in their best as one does to a close, caring friend. But if the leaders are rude and care less about anyone else apart from themselves, the workers are left to languish in stress, distress, and perpetual fear. And under such emotions and conditions, excellent performance is only a dream that will never be realized.
Vision and Purpose:
Go to an organization in which the leaders are visionary and purpose driven. The organization will have a clear direction, with every member of the organization aware of where they are going to as a team. But if the leader is a person who sees not beyond his nose, the organization suffers from managerial and operational myopia. The workforce itself remains blind to the direction the organization is taking. Needless to say, the blind man leading blind men, the whole organization falls in a ditch.
Godliness and Integrity:
I have got a chance to visit and work with some organizations where the leaders are God fearing men and women of integrity. Not surprised, I have always witnessed righteous, open transactions and operation with accountability. But where the leadership is wicked in its way of doing things, expect the organization to suffer suppression, corruption, and every other evil thing that can ever happen in an organization. A good example is one organization where the Executive Director had a sexual relationship with the Administrative Assistant. At first, they were excused under the guise of work cooperation until a day when the Tea Boy bumped into them attending to the “carpet business” in the Director’s office in the morning hours! When the godly are in leadership, people rejoice; but when the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.
Consultation and Teamwork:
In some organizations, the leader consults other co-workers before taking major decisions that affect them and the organization in general. Under such circumstances, teamwork is enhanced and all team members solidly have a sense of ownership on the decisions taken. But where a leader does things alone in the air-conditioned corners of his room, workers have no sense of attachment to the organizational vision and mission. Performance is resultantly poor.
Humility and Respect:
I’ve met leaders who are humble and respectful to all other persons under them. In their organizations, the workers feel loved and treasured, prompting them to put in their best efforts to see the organizational goals achieved. This is due to the fact that they see the organization as a family to which they gladly belong and not just a naturally coincidental gathering of money-hunting beings. But in organizations where the leader is proud, arrogant, and has no respect for those that work under him, the workers feel betrayed, used, exploited, and just employed as money-making machines for the leader’s self enrichment. This automatically reduces their morale and commitment to excellent work.
In organizations where the leaders encourage workers to develop themselves such as through in-service training, refresher courses, upgrading or going for further studies, the rate of employee retention and excellent performance is very high. The workers feel they are wished well. When work is delegated to them, they are given a chance to grow and be better people. They are given opportunities to be leaders too and so, they see no big reason to leave the organization for another. But in organizations where the leader does not care about the individual development of the workers, the rate of employee retention is miserably low. Workers do not see a future working with this organization. They have nothing to make them remain there. Their potential, when not utilized, compels them to look for a better ground from where they can utilize it to a relative maximum.
Nurturing Healthy Relationships:
In organizations where the leaders understand the importance of building and nurturing good and honest relations, the results are high. When relationships are redeemed, results are achieved. In such organizations, the level of concern for one another facilitates the bond that brings the entire workforce together to concentrate on the tasks at hand with love and singleness of purpose. But in organizations where the leader just cares more about results and less about who brings in the results, those anticipated results periodically dwindle into extinction. There’s no relational warmth that binds the team together.
Transparency and Accountability:
I’ve also come across organizations in which the leaders are honest, open, and accountable. Therein, a lot of resources are well used and put to right causes. The available money is transparently known by the concerned parties and allocation is done basing on honest standards. But where the leader is the only one who knows how much is in the organization’s treasury and none else, those organizations are marred with mistrust, uncertainty, resource misuse, and channeling of funds to wrong or personal causes. As a result, of course, each worker works to get his share of the remuneration and cares less about organizational growth and development.
Within organizations where the leaders frequently communicate to those other stakeholders, smooth running is witnessed. Every concerned party is kept informed and thus, all of them feel a sense of responsibility and importance in the organization. This enhances the level of each individual worker’s commitment to the efficiency and effectiveness of the organizational programs. But if the leader does not see the importance of communication and just keeps people in an information blackout, workers do everything mechanically, not knowing what’s happening within the organization. This increases the feelings of insecurity as workers fear the unknown! At the end of the day, they deliberately or otherwise, progress at a fairly slower pace for fear of coincidentally stepping on anyone’s shoes.
Start with the leadership if your organization is to grow. Address the leadership issues in the organizations. Look at issues concerning leader-follower relations, accountability and honesty in the leadership corridors, and the existing communication systems or channels. Look at the salaries and non-financial benefits that the leader avails to the workers and at what time. Look at the leader’s character and how he treats the workers.
Straighten the leadership path, and the organization will grow and develop to achieve its vision, mission, and objectives.
I hope you now go to ensure excellent leadership in your organization.