Yes, quality is the keyword in this title because, while there is a lot of “leadership training” out there, much of it is ineffective.
Part of that is because there is a lot of confusion about what leadership is, the importance of managers having good leadership skills, and how to be an effective leader.
However, good leadership is vital. You MUST have good leadership in your organization or your organization will fail or not reach the heights that it could.
Sometimes with leadership in our businesses and organizations, we settle for mediocre, thinking it’s great, when it’s really not. And we end up settling for mediocre businesses (or schools or nonprofits) thinking it’s “good” or “just the way it is” when really, there is so much more greatness we could reach, but we just don’t see it.
We need to start seeing it.
And that greatness comes from great leadership.
Below are 7 key reasons why you want quality leadership training and development.
However, before you start, I recommend you reading these articles as well to help you understand why we have bad leadership in many of our organizations (including why many think it’s good when it isn’t) and why leadership training often doesn’t work:
1. Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership
The success or failure of your organization, how high (or low) it goes, all of it depends on the level of leadership in your organization.
Example after example has shown this.
You have Captain Marquet and Captain Abrashoff who with the same crew turned their ship/sub from the worst or one of the worst running ones to one of the best. It was the leadership that made the difference (see It’s Your Ship & Turn the Ship Around!).
Charless Duhigg in Smarter Faster Better talks about the first Toyota factory in the US. They took over (or however it worked) an old GM plant that was known to be one of the worst (if not the worst) running factory (hence closed).
Toyota was required to keep 80% of the workforce. They turned it around to being one of the best (if not the best) factory – all because of the change of leadership.
Simon Sinek in The Infinite Game discusses a police chief who turned around the whole mentality and effectiveness of the city’s police department – same officers, just different leaders.
Jocko Willink and Leif Beiben also emphasize this point in their book Extreme Ownership with the chapter entitled “No Bad Teams, Just Bad Leaders”.
It’s the leadership that makes the difference in your organization. If you want a great organization you have to grow your leadership and the leadership throughout.
The top executives must be great leaders, but you also need great leaders throughout, otherwise your organization will still hurt.
As Jim Collins and Bill Lazier say in Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0, “Great leadership at the top doesn’t amount to very much without exceptional leadership at the unit level.”
Your employees rise to the level of leadership
John Maxwell in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership shares the Law of the Lid.
What he says (and it relates to #1) is that leaders are the Lid of their organization. The organization will never rise about the level of the leader.
He also discusses how great leaders won’t serve under mediocre leaders. And that applies in ways with “regular” employees as well.
The level of employees you get (and keep) depends on the quality of leaders you have.
Great employees will eventually leave poor quality leaders.
When you have mediocre leaders, you end up with mediocre employees.
Not only that, mediocre leaders are more likely to hire even more mediocre people. First, that happens because people attract people like them.
Second, many weak leaders don’t want to be outshone, so they hire people who won’t outshine them. They are more likely to hire B people instead of A people.
Great leaders hire A people. They want to hire great employees and grow them so they can shine and help the company even more.
If you want to get (and keep) great employees, you need great leaders.
The business does well after a leader leaves
Sometimes you have these highly charismatic leaders who push and “get things done” by the force of their will.
Then they leave the company, and the company falls apart.
They point and say to themselves (and likely others), “See how it fell apart without me? That shows how great a leader I was!”
When in reality it shows how terrible a leader they were.
The did not prepare for succession. They did not train their people to lead, to make quality decisions, or to solve problems.
They left a giant hole that caused the business to falter or collapse.
That’s not great leadership, that’s bad leadership.
Yes they may have gotten some “results” while there, but think what results they would have gotten if they actually had people who could make decisions and solve problems on their own without going through the “leader”?
You want to develop great leadership throughout the organization. You want to teach people how to make decisions, solve problems, and lead others well.
You want it to be where when you (or someone else) leaves, the organization can continue running well without you because of the quality leadership you have within your organization.
Team members of great leaders are more productive
When employees, or team members, have great leaders, they’re more engaged. Morale is higher. They are likely to enjoy their job more.
Not only that, great leaders lead in a way that help their employees be more productive. They give clear expectations.
They provide the support and training they need. They provide praise and quality feedback. They hold them accountable.
When you have great leadership, your employees are more productive.
Great leadership removes the need for useless bureaucracy
One main reason there is so much bureaucracy in many organizations is because of poor leadership.
Bureaucracy is generally created for two main reasons: a lack of trust (they feel like they have to control their employees to make them do what they want) and it’s a passive-aggressive way of dealing with people problems (instead of dealing with that one person, a new “rule” is created that affects and slows everyone down).
Over time these rules build and kill morale and productivity.
With great leadership, you don’t have that. Great leaders deal with people problems directly and effectively. They trust their teams and support them, not try to “control” them.
Great leadership frees your employees to do their jobs well.
Great leaders create great cultures
If you want a better culture in your organization, you want better leaders.
Poor leaders often create cultures of compliance and fear. The focus is on catching people doing wrong and making mistakes. It’s about trying to control people to make sure they do what they want them to do.
Employees often fear speaking up, taking risks, and innovating in those kinds of cultures.
Great leaders create cultures of psychological safety where people feel safe making mistakes, taking risks, innovating, speaking up, and more.
The better your culture, the more engaged and more motivated your employees will be. The more engaged they are, the more productive they will be.
Great leadership brings greater retention and lower turnover
It just makes sense with what we’ve said above.
Great leaders create environments where people thrive. They are more engaged, more productive, and more motivated.
It amazes me sometimes where a “leader” or manager will have so much turnover on their team, but they are just moved up or moved somewhere else instead of addressing their lack of leadership.
If you want lower turnover, improve your leadership.
And that’s not all…
Here are some more reasons why investing in quality leadership development and training is important. (Notice, too, how many of the reasons above and below tie together).
When you have great leadership in yourself and great leaders throughout your organization, you get:
- Better ideas and innovation
- Greater communication throughout your organization
- You attract better employees and talent
- Problems are found faster and solved quicker (and cheaper)
- You increase customer satisfaction
- Morale is higher
- There is less waste
- It helps reduce silos
- It helps build a competitive edge
- It increases the quality of decision making
- It helps enhance the company’s’ reputation and brand image
- It improves adaptability
- It increases profits.
Do you see how all of them tie together? It just makes sense.
When you have great leaders who build great cultures who hold people accountable and lead well, you get great results.
If you want a great business, non-profit, school system, or whatever type of organization you have….
If you want a great business, non-profit, school system, or whatever type of organization you have, you need great leadership.
I know I’ve seen a lack of leadership hurt businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions in terrible ways. You probably have, too.
It’s not something you should give a passing glance.
LEADERSHIP IS VITAL.
Make sure you have great leadership throughout your organization. Make sure to not only continually develop yourself in leadership, but that you provide quality (the key word again) leadership training and development throughout your organization.