A ton has been written about leadership, is there anything else little left to say?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines leadership as 'the office or position of a leader, the capacity to lead, and the act or instance of leading', i.e., it’s a position, a capacity, an act. The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines leadership as: 'the action of leading a group of people or an organisation'; 'the state or position of being a leader', i.e., a position, an action.
These dictionary definitions point to position, capacity and acts.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”. Similarly, the Harvard Business Review, “leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants.” Or as Forbes puts it, “leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”
These definitions emphasise the “accomplishing things” side of leadership though other people. Such definitions reflect the nature of business organisations, where achieving goals through others has been the ultimate virtue.
Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with a goal-oriented concept of leadership, it often obscures other vital facets of being a leader, that is: to have a just cause; to create other leaders and ensure a continuation of sustainable effective leadership; and to remain human.
A lot can also be said about monarchies, but there is one thing many royal families throughout history have been very good at – preparing their offspring for their upcoming leadership.
Again, it comes down to priorities. While year-end results keep modern-day CEOs up at night, great monarchy rulers always kept an eye on the next generation. What is the point of building a great kingdom or conquering new lands if all would be squandered away by an inept successor?
Ideally, the two facets of leadership, accomplishing great things and creating great future leaders who can carry on your legacy, should go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, the fast pace of today’s business coupled with the fact that business leaders are often rewarded for short-term achievements mean the latter facet of leadership is often missing. On average, CEO tenure rates are dropping. Averages can hide the reality, the CEO lifecycle shows the best performing CEO’s have longer tenure rates, nearly double the average.
This may sound contradictory given all the raves about leadership development and succession planning in the corporate world today. However, modern business leaders sometimes forget age-old wisdom: it is leaders who create leaders.
As such, it is the leader’s job, not the HR department’s, to identify, nurture, and champion future leaders for the organisation.
One of the most powerful tools for leaders to create leaders is coaching.
Leaders that apply coaching techniques can unlock both their own and individuals' potential and maximise their capabilities, thus, unleashing more potential in their organisation AND creating a much bigger pool of promising candidates for future leadership positions.
This is why I decided to become a coach and strive for a coaching culture at TRG.
Coaching is one of the surest ways to unlock and unleash unlimited potential and make an impact on the world for the benefit of all.
As part of a Coaching Culture transformation, it’s recommended to work with outside partners and coaches to help build your coaching culture. In our case, TRG has been working with ITD World and Leader Create Leaders (LCL) programme and some select coaches with my personal obvious bias towards fellow alumni of CCMC.
There is one more thing you need to know about coaching. Unlike mentoring, coaching is a highly-organised practice with well-established principles, methods, and governing bodies. We pay heed to them and in the spirit of CCMC I also develop new coaching models and tools to synthesise and enhance things for even greater success. Keep on reading these letters as we’ll be giving you a sneak preview.
Transforming or pivoting into a coach, is very doable, it requires a serious commitment, and a rebuilding of yourself. The rewards are more than worth the effort, I won’t say “trust me”, I recommend you “just try it” as you likely will find new meaning. More importantly, it's an integral skill part of any leader.
Founder & CEO of TRG International