It is the new year, and I hope to goodness the first resolution you have is not to be reading this with a hangover. Would hate to see one resolution fall by the wayside so soon.
In the hopes that you have that resolution still in place, here is hoping that you not only have personal resolutions, but that you also have professional ones that you would like to see through to the end. And this should be especially true about safety resolutions.
If that’s the case, then our old friend of this blog, Robert Pater, is back with a new leadership article in the November 2015 issue of Professional Safety magazine, where he addresses leadership and discusses how to establish leaders for long-term success.
Leadership Has No Kickstand
Pater’s article is premised on the trouble that many companies have with building leaders internally. While he notes in his article that there are several major companies who have leadership initiatives like formal training or informal mentorships to produce the next generation of mid-level and senior-level leaders and managers, there does seem to be a gap in leadership after a short period of time.
Namely, he wrote, many companies believe that leadership is more technical and mental and not so much emotional. Companies lament that their “leaders” have all the skills and knowledge they need to be leaders, but six months or a year later, those leaders are not there to take the lead.
Why does this happen? It is easy to provide motivation to be a leader when you are recruiting workers to be in your leadership training and while they are in the training. The hard part comes after those workers are let out of the leadership incubator. Without regular motivation, skill review and inspiration to continue the process, workers will tend to lose that emotional energy and drive to succeed and lead, and without that support, they will fall back into whatever they were doing before.
What the the causes of this leadership erosion? Pater says there are two possible reasons for this:
- Corporate bureaucracy impedes leaders’ work with workers to generate change; or
- Leaders themselves get frustrated by a series of negative-progress events or uphill battles with no support.
Combat Leadership Erosion
Conduct an assessment of your leaders and find out why they lose their energy. Pater suggests some tactical and strategic changes to the organization based on which of the two above reasons are the main cause for this leadership erosion.
If corporate bureaucracy is the main culprit, then Pater suggests finding out from your leaders what are the obstacles that are impeding their leadership success, and then take a hard look at removing some of those obstacles and encouraging whole departments to provide support and buy-in for the various initiatives that the leaders want to create.
If leaders are succumbing to their own frustrations, then maybe it is time to look at re-evaluting the type of person you choose to be a leader and consider a different temperament. Leaders are not those who get frustrated and shut down; they are the ones who persist, persevere, and even find creative end-arounds to find a way to get things done.
This new year, resolve to lead, and to create a new batch of leaders in your organization, and keep those leaders engaged hroughout the year. Creating leadership as a habit takes time but it can be done. For the sake of your organization, become a leadership leader.
Next time: We’ll delve into how to find and select the right people to be these leaders of change.