February 23, 2024

Supercharge success: Enhance effectiveness at all levels of leadership

Today’s leaders need to be ready for anything. As customer demands increase, companies must create a supportive environment for their people to thrive and achieve excellent results. Surprisingly, three-quarters of companies have neglected to invest in leadership, highlighting a critical gap in preparing leaders for today’s fast-paced business needs.

Not only that, Bersin reports a mere 12% of companies have yet to achieve the desired level of maturity in leadership development. There is an opportunity to enhance leadership skills and qualities to accelerate organizations and deliver their strategic priorities.  

Take action to fill leadership gaps in your organization. Identify what all leaders have in common and understand role-specific responsibilities. This blog post helps you grasp the different levels of leadership, helping you to make a real impact on improving organizational effectiveness and team dynamics.

Table of contents:

Common elements across levels of leadership

Poor leadership can seriously harm a business. Leaders without a clear vision of how best to lead, struggle to create an environment for others to thrive and perform. Problems happen when people don’t see how their work fits with broader company goals–affecting teamwork. This can lead to a decline in productivity and innovation. 

”I realized that you don’t transform mindsets through tasks, but you transform them through people – this is the power you have as a leader.” – LIW TRANSFORM participant, Senior Leadership Team

Effective leadership has common elements that build trust, transparency, and a positive work culture. And with just 23% of employees strongly trusting their leaders, companies that make trusting and transparent relationships reap the benefits. When leaders communicate well, handle change effectively, and inspire confidence in the future, employee trust rises to 95%.

Let’s say a healthcare organization recognizes the importance of a shared leadership culture. Considering the constant need to adapt to new regulations and meet diverse patient needs, the organization develops a shared leadership approach. This high-level model mirrors their commitment to patient-centered care, compassion, and outstanding medical services. It is in harmony with their vision of becoming a reliable healthcare provider that prioritizes medical necessities and patients’ well-being.

This shared leadership culture fosters a positive environment. As the organization adapts to new regulations and diverse patient needs, this high-level approach ensures that every team member understands how their role contributes to the overall vision.

Every organization requires a shared leadership approach. Starting with context, define a high-level leadership model that reflects your unique culture and aligns with your goals. This will give your organization a structured framework for decision-making and operations at all levels of leadership.

Levels of leadership

Achieving work objectives, like increasing brand awareness or streamlining workflow, hinges on everyone having a shared understanding of leadership within a common context. This means that for goals to be met effectively, everyone in the organization should be on the same page.

In complex business settings, such as enterprises, where traditional top-down management has evolved, and there are complex reporting structures and a need for agility, a more flexible leadership approach is required. These Leaders need to adapt to these changes, embracing a dynamic and collaborative style that allows for quick decision-making and flexibility.

Despite these changes, our approach to leadership recognizes that distinct levels of leadership are essential for organizational success. From leading individual teams to coordinating larger functional areas, each level plays a vital role in navigating the intricacies of modern business dynamics. This adaptive leadership model ensures that the organization can effectively respond to challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and maintain a cohesive vision throughout its various operational layers.

To create the optimal work environment, we identify three distinct key levels of leadership. 

1:  Leading teams

At this level, leaders guide and inspire their teams, promoting collaboration and cohesion. They connect strategy, making sure everyone understands their role and how their team contributes to bigger goals. These leaders create a workplace culture where people thrive, recognizing their strengths and areas for improvement.

Why does this matter? 

Effective leadership at this level ensures teams work well together, maximizing efficiency. Since 77% of employees aren’t engaged, leaders focusing on inspiring and guiding teams boost engagement by creating a positive work environment that increases motivation and involvement.

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2:  Leading teams of teams

As organizations become more interconnected and collaborative, leaders at this level coordinate and align multiple teams. They handle the complexities of team dynamics and ensure everyone works together toward common goals..

Why does it matter?

Organizations often require collaboration between multiple teams. If we look at local Government authorities, leaders at this level make sure that different teams join up, creating synergy and avoiding isolation..

Coordinating and aligning teams of teams is crucial for making sure that diverse groups work together towards organizational goals. This promotes unity, growth, accelerated learning and a shared vision.

3:  Leading the enterprise

Enterprise leadership oversees different areas in the organization. Balancing current business needs with longer term planning, keeping a keen eye on the developing future, the leadership that will be needed to drive the performance that will be required

Why does it matter?

Enterprise leadership level ensures that, while business units, functions and teams focus on their goals, they also consider the broader organizational objectives, creating a cohesive and integrated approach to ensure the business is ready and set up for success whatever comes next.

Meeting leadership challenges head-on 

Leaders continually juggle conflicting priorities and typically do more with fewer resources. The complexities of overseeing a hybrid work strategy, steering through change, and integrating advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation add layer upon layer of challenges to address.

Additionally, Leaders must operate at the right level of Leadership to avoid being perceived as micromanagers or overly hands-off. Both extremes can result in suboptimal work environments, leading to low engagement, increased conflict, and other challenges. 

Leaders need to strike a balance, providing guidance and support without stifling autonomy, to foster a healthy and productive work atmosphere. We advocate for an effective learning approach, learning in the flow of work, which involves designing leadership programmes that integrate real work as much as possible. This allows participants to practice newly acquired skills and behaviours within the context of their actual work, ensuring a seamless transfer of learning.

Leverage LIW to boost success across levels of leadership

Whether the challenges are rooted in frontline leadership, mid-level management, senior roles, or within the C-suite, LIW solutions are versatile and adaptable. We understand that each leadership level comes with its unique responsibilities, complexities and learning needs.

By partnering with you, we can pinpoint specific areas that need attention and develop targeted solutions to create a positive and productive workplace.

We specialize in helping organizations take a reflective step back and assess their leadership dynamics. We aim to identify potential challenges and collaboratively develop tailored solutions by engaging in this process. We aim to enhance the work environment by implementing effective leadership strategies at any level within your organization.

Plus, we empower your people to handle leadership challenges, ambiguity and change effectively. This helps with current and upcoming issues and supports your organization’s long-term success. . 

“While it would have been easy to just cancel the programme, we found purpose, inspiration, and creativity in our shared vision to continue to help our leaders lead and grow at a time when it was more needed than ever before.” – Global Leadership Development Manager and Client Programme Lead

Together, we create a leadership framework that aligns with your organizational goals and drives improvement in performance and employee satisfaction.

But don’t take our word for it. This Regional Manager completed the LIW Leadership Development programme and increased staff retention by 8% and customer retention by 19% year on year:

“When I arrived in my new role as Regional Manager, four members of the leadership team had recently resigned, so my immediate challenge was to rebuild morale and stabilise the team. I elected to join the programme, led by LIW, after a few months of being in my new role to help me gain the skills I needed to be a better leader and to support my team through this significant cultural change.”

What leadership challenges do you see? 

Over 60% of companies allocate less than $500 per year per person for management and leadership development.

It’s important to align this investment with the organization’s vision to nurture leaders to meet changing business needs.

Allocating financial resources to leadership development should also align with the organization’s strategic vision, reflecting a commitment to nurturing leaders who can effectively guide the organization in an ever-changing business landscape.

Next steps?

Reflect on the different levels of leadership in your organization.. This involves evaluating the leaders’ observable impacts at different organizational levels.

That doesn’t have to be challenging. 

To identify areas requiring improvement, let’s start by considering the following questions: 

  1. What does effective Leadership look like in your organisation at each level?
  2. How will you measure leadership success at each level?
  3. What positive impacts are evident across various leadership levels? 
  4. What less positive impacts are observed?
  5. What is the employee perception of leadership?
  6. What leadership development programmes are in place?

Use our Conditions for Success (3Cs) to help understand dynamics at the various levels of leadership in your organisation. The 3Cs looks at the things that need to be in place to drive success. It helps simplify what is going on to be able to pinpoint the factors that are working for Leaders at any level, as well as identifying where the gaps may be, so that you can start to consider what development might be required to support a level of leader. 

Simple and pragmatic, it can really help get to the core of what might be driving behaviours that are less effective in driving performance and engaging the team.

 

 

 

 

 

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Deliver effective leadership with LIW

Effective leadership doesn’t exist in isolation; it needs context aligned with the goals of both the organization and the team.

Award-winning LIW can help you improve lives by transforming people’s experience of work through leadership. LIW has worked extensively with global leaders across all three levels from diverse business sectors, ranging from small businesses to larger enterprises.

Do you have insights you’d like to discuss, seek engaging conversations with like-minded individuals, or recognize a need where we might assist? Contact us today, and let’s chat.  

 

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