What is the role of the leader?

It really depends on the perspective of different stakeholders, what role of the leader is going to be. In general, the board, shareholders, and top management expect the leader to maximize profit. The employees, who work for the leader, have a different view. They want someone who will support their growth, listen to them, be fair, and provide job security if possible. The leader though depending on the background, personal agenda, and experience might be concerned with his or her own well being and growth, perhaps financial success, sense of accomplishment, and recognition.

The challenges with leading

The biggest challenge is to meet the needs of all stakeholders in a timely and efficient way.
The leader must show that the organization is meeting key objectives, meeting financial targets while growing the organization and showing off its best image to its customers. The leader must deal with daily challenges, which will occur that range from unhappy customers, schedule delays, and unhappy employees. The leader soon understands that balancing the constant demands of a changing environment takes more than textbook advice. It takes courage, risk taking, and creativity. It takes making lots of decisions, some unpopular, while constantly measuring and monitoring the organization’s progress against its most important goals. Lastly, leadership involves making assessments, sometimes mistakes, and being bold enough to stand up against unpopular views when a different direction is needed.

How to have the workforce motivated and energized

Many leaders and organizations make a mistake of placing the emphasis on the outdated reward and punishment model of management. Programs that are meant to motivate others come and go. People are given great rewards only to find out later that the expectations for rewards grow higher with each new bonus. Employees are ranked and rated against each other to encourage competition only to find out later that this led to reduced collaboration between people. The best way to motivate people, however, is to teach people how to motivate themselves in their work. In this way, people do more, enjoy their work more, and everyone benefits.

The top steps to leadership coaching

The first way is to start showing people what you want them to learn and do. Leaders as teachers facilitate shared learning through listening, guiding, and setting clear goals. Next, leaders collaborate with the people they are leading. This is the opposite model from micro-management.
Leaders appreciate the diversity of the people they lead and strive to include all employees in decisions and projects. Leaders treat the people they lead as vested owners of the organization valuing their diverse views and approaches. Finally, leaders coach. That is, they ask questions, they offer ideas, and they have the best interests in mind for everyone whom they lead. This is not just a new management fad. Leadership coaching is the best approach for getting better results with people.

The top hurdles leaders will face on the way to coaching

Many leaders are more comfortable with giving one way communications and expecting compliance. This can get short-term results scaring people into action but leads to long-term mistrust and burnout of those who they lead. Many leaders have poor role models and are fearful that their new leadership behavior might place them outside the circle of acceptance from their own manager. Finally, some leaders are not convinced that collaborative, supportive relationships at work lead to anything useful or productive. They rationalize, it is more efficient to give out directions and expect compliance, rewarding those who cooperate and punishing those who do not. Work expectations, however, from a global diverse workforce have changed from older generations, and people today expect and in fact demand a more harmonious workplace and leaders who get along with those who they lead. Otherwise, they will simply leave to a competitor.

The benefits of leadership coaching

When leaders, especially top leaders start to coach, building stronger relationships with those who they lead, a new energy builds in the culture. People feel more supported and, as a result, they enjoy their work more which leads to better productivity. Customers feel the effect as well as those internal employees they deal with become the best offense toward enabling customer satisfaction and promotion of the organizational brand. Soon, the organization becomes an enabler of growth and collaboration. New ideas emerge, challenges are solved faster, and teams work better with each other. People start to feel good about where they work, and this shows through their work and how they communicate with each other.

How to measure progress through leadership coaching

Senior leaders must ask people how they feel about the organization and be prepared to listen. Are business indicators improving as a result of new approaches to leading? They should! Are customers saying good things about the organization? Is the organization gaining new customers, getting more return business from existing customers?
All of these key business indicators through some analysis can be linked back to how leaders work with those they lead, how people feel about their work, and where they work. Work gets done through people vs. under or over people. Good leadership coaching breeds a culture of respect, quality communications, shared goals, and development.

The bottom line – why leadership coaching pays off for all stakeholders

A new approach is needed when business becomes stagnant. The engine of any business is its people. Keeping the people engine tuned up, inspired, and well developed is the differentiator between business success and growth, or negative growth over time. When the people engine is maintained and paid attention to, it thrives and leadership coaching is one of the best ways to achieve this.

l’ll be cheering you on as you go!

Craig Nathanson


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