In the last blog we talked about the importance of having a good front line leader.  So what makes a good leader?    The next several blogs will be devoted to qualities that a good leader should have.

 

First let’s discuss the environment or organization rather than the qualities of a good leader.

 

Having strong leaders is definitely a must for an organization to be successful, but is it sufficient?  Consider the Detroit Lions.  They have not won a division title for 15 years; they lost over 14 games twice in the last 5 seasons.  They have gone through at least 5 head coaches in the last 10 years.  Was every coach they hired a bad coach?  Probably not, in fact one of their coaches took a different team deep into the playoffs.

 

Now consider the Pittsburg Steelers.  They have won more super bowls than any other NFL team, and they have done it with three different coaches.  Maybe the Steelers are better at choosing coaches than the Lions. But I think it is more likely that other factors are needed for success than just the head coach.  If you look closely at professional teams in various sports, you will see that many teams win year in and year out with different coaches and different personnel, while other teams continue to struggle in mediocrity and go through a slew of head coaches and managers.

 

The business world is similar; your leaders are important, but they need support.  They need a good staff, they need support from above, and they need resources and tools to thrive.   Your entire organization is instrumental to the success of its leaders.  If your organization has all the elements of success, your good leaders with thrive.  Without a solid organization and system, your company may end up being a revolving door for personnel as one leader after another falters; just like the Detroit Lions. 

 

As a precursor to reviewing your leadership, take a look at your organization and ask yourself two questions.

  1. Do you have the right people in the right places? -  People who are not in the right positions or are not compatible with the organization are low performers, but they can drag your organization down.
  2. Do you have an engaged organization?  Do your people care about the business?  

 

Your leadership question is entwined in the above questions, but you should try to separate them so you can identify the root problems.  It is possible that your organizations biggest issue is leadership, but you need to assess that before making assumptions.  Doing an organization assessment will help reveal the core problems. Once your core problems are identified, you can incorporate your leadership enhancement program into your overall strategy.