Are leaders made or Born?
This is a question that continues to draw debate. But one thing is for certain - many successful leaders are made. Scientific research has shown that 70% of leaders are nurtured. This should not be surprising as the process of developing an effective leader often starts by mentoring employees - both junior and senior employees.
Take the example of Jack Welch, who rose through General Motors' ranks from a junior chemical engineer to the CEO and Chairman. Doug McMillon, the current CEO of Walmart, is also a great example - his first employment in the company was as a manual loader before rising to the CEO position in 2014.
There are many similar stories across the business world and even in politics. It all starts with senior leaders identifying potential. Then through a series of coaching and mentoring initiatives, the new employee is transformed into a valuable team member as they rise in their career.
What is Leadership Development?
Leadership development refers to deliberate initiatives to improve individual leadership capability through learning the fundamentals of leadership through a series of events, such as coaching and mentoring.
Forward-thinking companies often incorporate leadership development as part of their inclusive Leadership plans in succession planning. Through leadership development, individuals learn to lead more confidently and learn new skills, such as:
Who Benefits From Leadership Development
Since leadership is never carried out in a vacuum when organizations develop leaders, the entire ecosystem benefits, this includes the leaders themselves, employees, and society.
Leadership development is not specifically meant for a certain cadre of employees, such as senior employees. An organization can make it part of personal development resources to encourage junior employees to be better professionals in the workplace.
For companies, it leads to the following benefits:
- Assuring Stability: when a company lays out strategies to guide employees for future leadership responsibilities, it ensures that competent leaders will fill in the shoes when leadership is phased out.
- Refines a Leadership Style: Leaders in positions better refine their leadership style(s) through self-reflection. This leads to confidence in the ability and increases the chance of success.
- Improves Company Culture: When employees feel that management genuinely cares about their welfare and that the leadership drives the company in the right direction, this positively impacts company culture. Leadership development assists in creating such an environment.
- Improvement in Productivity: Transitioning into new responsibilities is often a learning curve for better time management. This calls for more self-awareness on how to focus on things that matter. Coaching and mentoring can help refine this, ensuring that one efficiently balances their responsibilities.
- Improves the Bottom Line: there is a positive correlation between leadership development and an improved bottom line. For example, studies done by the Havard Busines review revealed five times higher stock market returns than those that didn't. Through development, leaders can learn better resource allocation, new insights, and better ways of driving performance.
- Attract Top Talent: Talented employees are likely to prefer a company that develops them further, including in leadership. This also means that a company will likely retain talent within its rank and file for a long.
- Boosts an Organization's agility: Organization agility refers to the ability of an organization to adapt to changes through constant renewal. A good example is Amazon, which started as an online bookstore and became the ubiquitous company it is today. Leadership development guides leaders in addressing business challenges and taking advantage of opportunities to foster growth.
Role of Coaching and Mentoring in Leadership Development
Coaching and mentoring are two leadership capacity-building development tools known to deliver great results. It is no wonder that nearly all leadership development initiatives incorporate them.
They not only increase employee engagement but also help to develop future leaders that will benefit the organization in the long term.
What is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?
Coaching and mentoring are often used interchangeably, but the two vary in application, purpose, and scope. That said, combining the two in leadership development helps create a well-rounded leader who can effectively address leadership challenges.
An example of coaching is getting skills to improve communication or learn more about self-awareness. Toward this objective, a coach will guide you within a specific timeline at the end of which you should notice an improvement in that area.
An example of mentoring is a senior employee guiding junior employees over time on how to build on early wins in their career path.
Role of Coaching in Leadership Development
"I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities." -Bob Nardelli
The coaching culture has grown in the recent past. It is no longer a preserve of top management or an afterthought for many organizations. Today, many companies see it as part of employee engagement, including initiatives such as leadership development.
For leadership development, coaches play the following roles:
- Teach Leadership Skills and Styles: for a first-time manager or employee aiming to rise up the leadership rank, identifying the right skills for leadership can be challenging. A coach will help in clearing this confusion and inspire confidence. Some skills a coach helps impact include focusing, improving self-awareness, communication, relationship building, etc.
- They offer Better Insights: A coach can use Powerful questions to offer better insights. These are open-ended questions that promote reflection and discoverability. Some examples of powerful questions include: What is your leadership mission?; Tell me more about your past leadership credentials; what do you think is best? Etc. From this, a coach can offer a course of action.
- Achieving Work-life Balance: Work-life balance is difficult for many managers. With a constant need for greater productivity, many managers often sacrifice their personal life with work demands with devastating results. A coach can impart skills better to balance your professional life as part of leadership development.
- Developing Self-Awareness: To succeed in leadership, self-awareness is a must-have skill. This is because how a leader carry themselves has a bearing on employees. A coach can assist in developing this vital skill.
Role of Mentoring in Leadership Development
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey
Mentoring is a powerful way of impacting leadership skills as it teaches from experience. Mentors can deliver knowledge from past interactions- knowledge that cannot be found in any business book.
This way, developing leaders becomes easier as guidance is delivered to deliver the desired output. This is partly why certain companies prefer recruiting leaders from within.
Mentors play the following roles in leadership development:
- How to Transition to Leadership Roles: Having experienced the ups and downs of leadership transitions, mentors are better placed to provide feedback on how to assume new responsibilities.
- How to Motivate team members: Team motivation can take different forms. What is popular may not always deliver results. A mentor is best placed to draw from past experiences on how to motivate in particular situations. Is it through giving a bonus? Paid gateways etc.?
- Conflict Resolution: For mid-level managers, direct reports, or even new managers, knowledge of conflict management is a valuable skill to have. Mentoring initiatives on leadership development help one develop strategies for resolving conflicts when one assumes new roles, as one can draw from their expertise.
- Emotional support and Role Modeling: Successful mentors are highly self-aware. They know how to manage emotions for the benefit of their team and to ensure professionals.
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How Organizations Can Create a Culture of Mentoring and Coaching
Organizations that have made coaching and mentoring part of their culture generally do well - for employees and the company. To enhance this culture, do the following:
- Create a culture of providing feedback: This culture will create accountability for all stakeholders, promoting the need for coaching and mentoring.
- Promote learning: Well-learned employees tend to show creativity and efficiency. They can create identity learning gaps that coaches and mentors can fill.
- Lead from the top: When leaders go for coaches and signup up for mentoring initiatives, it sends positive signals to the company employees. This is a good example of how Executive presence can help inspire confidence.
How Highrise Can Help
Are you transitioning in your career or simply looking for coaching and mentoring opportunities to better position yourself?
If Yes, we have a solution for you.
At Highrise, we understand how to refine leadership styles. Our executive coaching program that encompasses coaching and mentoring will give you more confidence in leading workplace teams, ensuring you succeed and hence more job satisfaction.
Reach us today for a solution.