With the start of the new year, many organisations will be looking to enhance their performance through the quality of their leadership. It is up to HR to set a good example and lead the way
What is your New Year's resolution? Giving up smoking? Joining a gym? Or breathing new life into your organisation, perhaps?
If it is the latter, then you may be contemplating how to enhance your organisation's performance through the quality of its leadership.
The leadership challenges for organisations - particularly those operating in a globally competitive market place - have continued to rise unabated during the last decade.
New employment legislation, cultural change, the need to adopt best practice and deliver results, have increased the range of skills and competencies which leaders and managers are required to employ.
A number of recent studies show that the perception among many employees is that the quality of leadership is falling short. One of the key challenges for organisations in 2003 - and for HR in particular - must be to enhance the quality of current and future leadership.
We have to proactively create leadership programmes for senior managers, or, where they already exist, dispassionately review their effectiveness. It may be necessary to start again.
Ask any member of a top management team whether they believe better performance could be achieved from their staff and they will invariably say 'yes'.
Yet, when asked what proactive action is being taken by the organisation to extract that superior performance through better leadership, the response will be vague.
The challenge for HR must be to tap into their pool of talent by creating the environment, culture and opportunities that enable employees to reach their full potential. An obvious but important prerequisite in achieving this is the appropriate investment of resources in leadership development. A significant effort and justification for securing the necessary resources are a must.
Effective leadership is about creating a great organisation capable of sustained performance over many years, but developing world-class leaders is not a simple task.
There are many views of what the key ingredients to producing effective leaders are. One only has to look at the array of books on leadership in any airport lounge, and it soon becomes apparent there is no quick and easy answer.