On LinkedIn, consultant Jeffrey Deckman wrote:
"The only way to build a better company is to invest in building a more capable workforce."
To which I said, Amen! A company is its people.
Deckman's statement leads to a question: In today's companies, what are the key capabilities needed in the workforce?
One of those key capabilities, in my view, is leadership. Leadership is not about level or title. It's about the capability an organization needs to mobilize energy in the desired direction toward success.
Breaking this capability down into components, here are some of the most vital aspects of leadership.
Character - Many thinkers, from Plato to Stephen Covey, have tried to distill the qualities of a leader. The key qualities, in my mind, are those that are most related to demonstrating leadership in an organization. Qualities like focus, being proactive, vision, commitment, respect, and caring. There are many more, I am sure. Character is vital to leadership because it points to what is inside the person that "shines" out of them in their interactions with others.
Communication - If you are not communicating, you are not leading. It's as simple as that. Communication is the oxygen in an organization. Leaders maintain a lively exchange of information and ideas with others around them in the organization. The communication is open, free flowing, and direct. Leaders are approachable.
Conflict & Creativity - Any time people come together in an organization there will be clashes. Conflict therefore is natural and emerges from our differences. Leaders recognize this and develop ways to handle disagreements in a healthy way. Leaders also develop creative approaches to resolving issues and problems so that the team gets stronger and smarter through the process.
Collaboration - Leaders facilitate teamwork by bringing people together around common goals. When collaboration and cooperation are established, leaders can unleash the power of diversity and synergy in the organization, where "great minds" can apply their energy to vexing problems and achieve breakthroughs.
Coaching & Change - Leaders build the capabilities of others. That's what coaching means. Strengthening others so they can perform at their best. And during times of organizational change, when people are stressed, this coaching capability is greatly needed to help people navigate the uncertain waters of change.
Culture - Leaders impact the culture of the organization because the culture is a reflection of the choices ("how we do things here") they make each and every day. Mindful of this dynamic, leaders can "lead by example" and take good care of the culture being created for the company.
The way to build a better company? Build the leadership capability of the workforce.
Terrence Seamon builds leadership and team capability. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and facebook Facilitation Solutions.