Great leaders are often the most visible people within a company, and many of a business' accomplishments are accredited to these individuals. However, in a number of those situations, these people aren't entrepreneurial masterminds who are capable of doing things that no one else can. In general, outsiders looking in are much too quick to attribute a business' success or failure to leaders.
In reality, behind every successful leader is a system and work culture that nurtures them and improves their ability to do their jobs. While the individual merits of a person in a leadership position are important, there are other factors that help leaders develop and mature into their roles. In other words, while great leaders can be born, they are more frequently cultivated and nurtured by the companies that support them.
“It is not simply the number or quality of individual leaders that determines organizational success, but the ability of formal and informal leaders to pull together in the support of organizational goals that ultimately makes the difference,” explains the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).
Core considerations of leadership
Instead of simply looking at the individual, the CCL urges companies to look at these factors:
1. Quantity of leaders needed: The number of managers and executives deployed by a company can be very telling of the leadership culture. There is a fine balance that companies need to strike, employing enough leaders that they are able to effectively collaborate and support each other, but not so many that positions become redundant.
2. Qualities desired of leaders: Aspects such as demographics, diversity, background and experience level can offer insight into a business' leadership culture.
3. Desired leadership culture: What are companies striving to achieve with their leadership cultures? Do they want managers to collaborate across departments, engage employees, accept responsibility, create opportunities for workers or enable continuous improvement for their employees?
It's important to realize that leadership culture isn't something that is intrinsic to a company. Just like any other process, companies can set forth to improve leadership culture and place a greater focus on it. Kaizen can be used to help create stronger leaders.