Climbing the ladder to leadership

Climbing the ladder to leadership

There are many ways to get ahead in the business world, but it’s not always clear how to find the right leadership skills.

Despite what many people think, becoming a leader is not a simple progression, and there are several important factors at play.

The ladder to leadership can be a tricky one to climb, and there are a number of issues that can come into the equation when someone is looking to become a leader.

Thankfully, there are now a number of different ways to graduate into a leadership role and some powerful assets to help make that transition easier and more effective overall.

The Path to Becoming a Leader

In the past, there were essentially two ways to become a leader in a business environment. More often than not, it was the person who had been around that particular business the longest who was given a leadership role.

leadership development program

This appointment was made due to the wealth of experience that the person had obtained over time and how well they knew the workings of the business.

Even to this day, a person can be given a leadership role without any regard for their personal skills, emotional intelligence or whether they are the best candidate for the position itself.

On the other side of the coin, there are often cases of an employee who has a well-rounded knowledge of the company and where improvements can be made but is overlooked.

The notion that hiring an outsider to the firm will be better for the company and that those ‘fresh eyes’ will bring a better understanding of where advancements can be implemented can be misleading.

This is where the balance of working out exactly what type of leader is needed for the business to move forward comes into focus.

Taking the lead

There has been a mixed reaction to the idea that everyone can be a leader. You will find this notion of leadership promoted in everything from schools and Universities to sporting clubs and business groups.

There are a number of leadership coaching companies that offer ways to teach the basic elements of what is needed to be a leader.

The strength of a high-quality leadership development program is that it covers the key factors of how to lead whilst tackling the more difficult topics that leaders often encounter in companies of varying sizes.

The important issues of effective communication, engagement and collaboration need to be addressed. Being a purely reactive business can bring about a stressful and disruptive workplace that never finds its feet long enough to forge a better path ahead.

Some of the most common mistakes that a leader will come up against are:

Having a good and solid workplace, but one where goals are never met because of poor communication.

· Being in a business with a clear and a strong sense of purpose that is let down by an inability to have difficult conversations and a channel for clear and open feedback.

· Finding staff promoted with technical expertise but limited people skills. 

· Having different teams and departments that work well and make decisions as a single unit but do not perform as a cohesive business.

· Becoming solely focused on meeting the heavy workload rather than making time to create the best results.

There is a special leadership quality needed that can go beyond the surface level of problems and find the root cause of them.

This can mean navigating a way to get staff to speak up and avoid communication breakdowns.

Identifying the issues and finding the right solutions

An effective leader is one who can see beyond the obvious and be able to manage a team that works together to find solutions to problems.

Take the example of a national cigar supplier that wants to sell the best cigars Sydney offers and also the top cigars Brisbane can provide. It could be that there are two teams in the company who are vying for the same attention when it comes to the promotion of their strand of the business.

Rather than work together to share their knowledge of what does and doesn’t work, those teams cannibalise their marketing strategies and end up costing each other business. This could be anything from detracting from their SEO efforts or appearing as two separate businesses.

What about a large and well-known paint and oiling company that wants to sell a special deck stain or a deck sealer that is much more effective on a specific type of wood?

A leader in this business will look at the other products that the company provides to see where pitfalls can be avoided and work out how successes can be repeated. This will often mean engaging different team members across the business to get the best results and help create a stronger business buy-in from all staff.

Today’s leaders and tomorrow’s best

As the matters of an ever-evolving world come to pass, so too do the opportunities to adapt to that changing market.

This is where leaders need to possess a high level of resilience.

The key to such resilient leadership is to be genuine in all your dealings and authentic to yourself and others.

It may sound like a cliché of a kind, but knowing oneself and being honest about your own strengths and weaknesses can be inspiring for those under your leadership.

This can allow you to be similarly open and honest with each of your team members, know their abilities and possible shortcomings and understand their values and their goals.

Building a successful business and an effective leadership role within it means being trusted. Without the trust of the team and standing by your word, you cannot hope to be the best leader you can be. Honest and open communication leads to better decision-making and team building.

The most obvious way to achieve the outcomes that the business is aiming for is to target those points where there is a weakness in the team or the way things work.

The best leaders are those who are able to bring out the best in themselves and those they lead.