In his best-selling book, “Extreme Ownership,” former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink recalls a training exercise in which the soldiers teamed up to compete in the military’s version of a boat race. There were seven men assigned to each raft, with one being designated as the leader.
As an incentive, the winner of each race was granted permission to sit out the next contest and get some much-needed rest.
After several races, Willink and his associates noticed that the same boat kept coming in first. And likewise, one boat consistently finished last. So they decided to perform an experiment by switching the leaders of the winning and losing boats.
And what do you think happened? You guessed it—the losing boat finished first the very next race.
The point of this story is obvious: Leadership matters. In fact, good leadership is vital to the success of any organization, whether it’s the Navy SEALs, a flag football team or a small company trying to meet its sales goals.
What makes a great leader?
As President Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”
Effective leaders are a living and breathing example of what they want their team to be. Effective leaders get everyone to buy into the mission. They motivate and inspire. They empower their team and give them all the credit when success is achieved.
Ineffective leaders, on the other hand, have quite the opposite effect.
There are telltale signs when leadership is lacking in an organization. The most obvious, of course, is that the company is failing to meet its goals. Quarterly reports can tell you a lot about the ability of your leaders. But before you start seeing the bottom-line impact of your leadership, there are signals you should look for that indicate your leaders could use some help.
- High turnover. As the old saying goes, people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. They quit bosses who don’t offer honest and open feedback. They quit bosses who don’t instill confidence. They quit bosses who don’t help them understand their purpose. If your company is becoming a revolving door, it’s likely your leadership is the reason.
- Low morale. You will see it in company meetings. You will notice it around the water cooler and in the break room. When your staff is feeling discouraged or marginalized, chances are it’s in reaction to the leadership they are receiving.
- Lack of collaboration. Listen closely. Are your employees working in silos? Are they spending more time criticizing their coworkers rather than working with them? Are they actively sabotaging others’ efforts? Your leaders’ job, like the leaders in the Navy SEALs, is to get everyone rowing in the same direction. If your team is not working together for a common mission, your leaders are responsible.
“Born leaders” are the exception rather than the rule.
Sure, some people just have “it.” They have a natural ability to motivate, inspire and lead. But the vast majority of those in leadership roles could use the help of an organizational development consultant. In fact, if you ask your most effective, experienced and seasoned leaders, they’ll tell you that even they would like to fine-tune their skills.
That’s why training courses for leadership development are so essential to an organization’s success. By fully assessing your company, interviewing both your leaders and your employees and finding where the opportunities for improvement are, you can build a leadership team that is firing on all cylinders.
Here are five ways leadership development training can directly affect your organization’s success.
- Leadership development training will enhance productivity. The simple fact is good leaders make the entire team better. By offering your leaders the proper guidance and support, you can increase the productivity of everyone in the company. What’s more, when challenges arise, the leaders you’ve trained will have the ability to manage those situations and provide solutions to mitigate the damage.
- Leadership development training will help build a strong culture. With the proper training, your leaders will be able to more effectively communicate your company’s vision, mission and values to your employees. This goes a long way to make sure that everyone is in alignment and has a clear road map moving forward.
- Leadership development training will help improve employee retention. When a good employee leaves, it impacts both your company morale and your bottom line. Studies show that it takes 50-60 percent of an employee’s salary to find a suitable replacement. By investing in leadership training, you can improve your chances of keeping your most valued staff.
- Leadership development training is good for your bottom line. Great leaders inspire innovation. They bring new ideas to the table and encourage others to do the same. Great leadership drives new lines of revenue and improves customer satisfaction. In other words, leadership training pays for itself, and then some.
- Leadership development training will nurture the next generation of leaders. This may be the most compelling reason to invest in leadership training: your future. Good leaders teach. They mold. They mentor. With strong leadership, you are putting a succession plan in place that creates a funnel of great leaders. By investing in leadership training you are setting your company up for success for decades to come.
Effective leadership is essential to the success of your company. Leadership impacts your culture, morale and bottom-line success. While some leaders are “born leaders,” the vast majority need coaching. To get the most out of your leadership team, it’s wise to invest in a leadership development program.
To learn how DS Benefits Group can help improve the effectiveness of your leadership team, contact us.