MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE AND LEADERSHIP MAGIC... MADE FOR EACH OTHER 1. Building a leadership brand:
The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why. The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader's eye is on the horizon. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it. The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person. To be honest, I would love my managers to tick all the boxes from above, but in all fairness it might not be enough. It doesn't consider the organisational context, even given the perfect leadership traits. What if the leader has all the so admired traits of a leader, but the organisational environment does not provide the opportunity to live them? It lacks the understanding that being a great leader can only happen when you have great followers.
At Aon Hewitt we have conducted leadership research since 2001 which has become the broadest and deepest global study on organisational leadership called Top Companies for Leaders (TCFL). The research question is: What organisational practices need to be in place to ensure leadership has the greatest impact? The results are stunning: Top Companies consider leadership development as a way of doing business so managers and leaders are equally involved. A comprehensive study of their leadership development practices brings out five key themes that differentiate them from others:
All of the Top Companies intentionally build a strong leadership brand and invest in opportunities for their senior leaders to cascade this leadership brand internally through various institutionalized processes to their managers and employees. Top Companies also ensure external visibility of their leadership brand in order to attract top talent from the market.
2. Unrelenting focus on talent assess
All of the Top Companies have an institutionalised talent review process as compared to many of the other participants that do not have such a process. The talent review process rigorously measures competencies, values and potential of the employees. They assess talent through multiple lenses and with great rigor.
3. Customised learning opportunity:
Top Companies provide accelerated and customized learning for their top talent differentiating between management and leadership. One size does not fit all for them. They emphasize one-to-one development interventions, such as exposure, coaching, mentoring, and action learning projects.
4. Taking top talent out of their comfort
Senior leaders encourage their top talent to take up new challenges outside of their comfort zones in order to create additional long-term value for the organization. To them, it is important to create a “creative tension” in the organization and bring out the best in their management and leadership talent.
5. Diversity of thought:
Top Companies work towards increasing the diversity of their leadership group as part of the leadership strategy. These organizations make conscious efforts to build an inclusive workplace promoting cultural agility, global mindset and diverse experiences. In summary, combining the thoughts from the opening chapter with the conclusions from our TCFL research, I think we have to draw the conclusion that MAGIC happens when the leader with the right traits creates or meets the organisation with the right leadership practices
BY DR. MARKUS WIESNER CEO, Aon Hewitt Middle East and Africa