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3 Drivers for Improving Leadership Quality

By Jazmine Boatman, Ph.D.

Boatman Jazmine, Ph.D.

How can organizations revolutionize their practices to drastically improve the quality of leadership? According to the leaders surveyed in this study, high-quality leadership has three key drivers: leadership development, other talent management systems that build a high-quality leadership pipeline, and management culture.

Leadership Development

Three Drivers for Improving Leadership Quality Improving the quality of an organization’s leadership involves identifying the critical skills leaders need to succeed and then providing leaders with opportunities to develop and apply those skills effectively. This approach focuses development efforts on skills necessary for business growth, preparing the organization for future success. You can read more about those critical skills in this blog post: The 5 Most Critical Skills for Leaders.

Other Talent Management Systems

Quality of leadership is also improved by ensuring the effectiveness of the talent management systems that support development, such as leadership selection, performance management, and leadership succession. Talent management is a mission-critical process that ensures organizations have the quantity and quality of people in place to meet current and future business priorities. The process covers all aspects of an employee’s life cycle, starting when the organization selects the right leaders. It continues when the person’s performance is aligned to the organization’s strategic goals with an effective performance management system. It’s fueled with effective development and leadership succession efforts. Improving the quality of leadership involves doing all of these things well.

Management Culture

Finally, leaders cannot be effective in an environment in which employees lack the freedom to make decisions or to innovate. An effective management culture enables and empowers others, which allows organizations to capitalize on their talent. Strategic talent management is the major vehicle for building leadership capability in organizations—but talent doesn’t work in a vacuum. The way organizations manage people and the culture they create plays a fundamental role in their employees’ ability to drive the business. Effective management culture consists of an organizational structure that is fluid and flexible. Status and influence are based on the ability to lead, contributions and performance. Decisions are made through open, vigorous and uncensored discussion. The company has shared values and aspirations that are meaningful to employees. It’s the culture that drives performance, not administrative management.

When these three factors are working together, the synergistic result is higher-quality leaders who, as previously demonstrated, can effectively enhance people outcomes as well as drive business impact.

Which of these presents the highest return for your investment this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Jazmine Boatman, Ph.D., is a senior consultant and former manager of DDI’s Center for Applied Behavioral Research.

Posted: 29 Aug, 2013,
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