There are several levels of leadership required within an organisation and certain levels are better undertaken by particular types of people. This means that the characteristics that best suit one level of leadership may not be so useful in another. Yet most organisations drive their leaders through the various tiers without acknowledging the different attributes and skills required.

Early leadership is generally measured on results. So a successful leader is one who achieves results. They tend to be task oriented and hard taskmasters who drive their teams forward. Great in a sales environment great when measured against targets and within results oriented organisations.

Yet as these leaders move away from the front line or coal face their attributes may become less applicable. Driving a small team in a tactical environment is very different from the people skills required to motivate and influence larger teams perhaps through their own team leaders rather than directly. Leading from a greater distance away is far more challenging and people oriented. No longer are the close in results the only requirement but getting teams to stay motivated and to contribute over the longer term becomes an issue.  Vision and strategy need to be developed and bought into People in these roles have to have developed their comprehension of social identity and leadership styles in order to be fully effective. They are divorced from quick results and move into a position where they have to lead people to generate long term results.

The ability to see and understand the big picture is often rare in leaders as they are too close in and results oriented. Organisations need to identify strategic high performers and nurture them in order to sustain and enhance their market position.

It is this sort of talent management that marks out the companies with genuine longevity.

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