Today’s corporate and business environment is far more multi faceted than it was 30 years ago. While many of the fundamental challenges remain the same, the number of variables leaders have to juggle are inestimable; multi-generational workforce (and the consequent expectations), ever changing technologies, volatile economies and political turmoil to name a few. Trying to negotiate these factors is a challenge, even to the most experienced leader, and even the most robust plan can be thrown off track unexpectedly. Due to this, it can be tempting to adopt a “fly by the seat of my pants approach” and focus more energy on macro goals and large-scale outcomes and leave the details to be ironed out by a lower level employee. While there is validity to this approach, and allows for the necessary flexibility and chain of command, it is crucial to set milestones along the way, and put in place checkpoints at which you can evaluate progress, and if need be redirect. So how do you find the perfect balance?
It is perhaps the most essential, that before one even begins a project, that one ensures that one’s basic structures and frameworks are strong and can withstand even the largest tremors. In that way one equips oneself with a strong, resilient team that can react efficiently and strategically and that considers both the new circumstances as well as the original plan. In stressful periods it is tempting to reduce ones investment in staffing to meet budget or cut costs but this can backfire quickly and harshly. Not only do economic turnarounds happen quickly, leaving one stranded without enough manpower to take advantage of the upswing, but one also runs the risk of losing valuable talent to help navigate ones way out of the slump should one be there for a while.
Our biggest investment is our staff; but they are our biggest asset too. If one protects them against financial turmoil placing their interests first it is highly likely they will return the favour and you will have gained an engaged and committed workforce. And engaged, committed individuals have the makings of your next leaders – no matter their level of authority. Our aim as leaders should not be to create followers but to create more leaders – people who take the success of our organisations into their own hands.However, regardless of how driven our workforce is, it is futile unless they are equipped with tangible skills and information in order to empower them to make informed and strategic decisions. In order to impart this information to them we need to clearly set out goals, targets and objectives and construct a roadmap in order to reach them. Once you have done that, you can empower your people with the trust and autonomy they need to reach these targets without micromanagement.
So with that in mind, what do we need to consider when laying out a leadership map?