CIARAfrica LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES THAT ENHANCE TALENT AND ENGAGEMENT By Dr. David K.W. Ssonko Dean, School of Civil Service, Public Administration and Governance. Uganda Management Institute
Introduction The changing economic realities call for new approaches to build agile organizations and leaders capable of navigating in uncharted waters. CEOs and top teams need to help in executing people strategies which will build the capabilities required to win in today’s hyper-competitive environment. The economic crisis has heightened the need for a strong leadership pipeline and has made talent management a business priority. It has also created new realities for organizations and set new priorities in relation to talent management, engagement and development. Organizations are now redesigning their talent frameworks, preparing themselves to take full advantage of future business opportunities. Consequently, leadership directly influences the performance of the enterprises, and the number of leaders or leadership behaviour determines whether the enterprise will be more successful. Obviously, in order to realize the organizational vision and implement strategies, it is crucial to be able to attract, engage, develop and retain the top performers in key positions.
Introduction cont.. Leadership development and talent management together with engagement have a strong correlation with each other. In fact leadership development is an integral part of any successful corporate talent management strategy. It involves identification of potential leaders, grooming and training them for leadership roles, and gradually delegating more authority and responsibility to them to cultivate leadership skills. Leadership development not only involves leading others, but first and foremost, it involves leading oneself. An individual who is a keen learner and highly self-motivated is a natural leader. With systematic leadership training, including opportunity and experience, such an individual may have the potential to become an equally successful leader of a large group or an organization.
Leadership, Talent and Engagement For one to have a clear grasp of the theme of this paper, it is necessary to have a fair appreciation of the key concepts involved: Leadership, talent and engagement. Leadership There is no single accepted definition of leadership. At the same time there is no paucity of research on the subject. One can find many books, journals, articles, websites and newsletters addressing leadership conceptualization and empirical research findings on leadership (Ajarimah, 2001). The last twenty-five years have seen significant contributions from organizational science, political science, cognitive science and human resource development to the continuous elaboration of the concept of leadership. Also there has been a noticeable increase in University courses and programmes concentrating on leadership studies both in the Western hemisphere and in other parts of the world. Leadership, like love, can be explained in many different ways. DuBin (1998) and Kouzes and Posner (2003) provide several definitions which indeed help us to get started thinking like a leader:
Leadership is interpersonal influence directed towards attaining goals.
Leadership is the ability to inspire confidence and support among the people to achieve organizational goals.
The art of influencing people by persuasion or example to follow a line of action.
Leadership is about getting people to move in the right direction, gaining their commitment, motivating them to achieve their goals.
Influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with directions and orders.
A leader who can inspire, persuade, influence and motivate can spearhead useful changes. Bringing about changes is a critical leadership goal because most improvement requires a departure from the status quo. A leader creates a vision for others and then directs them towards achieving that vision. To be a leader, you must have followers who have confidence in you and who give you their support and commitment to a goal.
Leadership contd... Leadership is more than just having the authority of a supervisory or management position. While authority (or position power) gets you compliance, influence gets you commitment. When you influence others to follow, they do so because they like you, admire you, or because you have special expertise to support their efforts. Your position as a manager or supervisor gives you authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization but this power does not make you a leader but a Boss. Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals rather than bossing people around. Bosses therefore are not effective leaders because their employees only obey them (mechanical compliance) not follow them.
Talent Talent is considered to be an innate, personal gift possessed by relatively few people. In essence, someone with talent has an aptitude to do certain things. Each and every individual has some talent but in organizational term, talent is more related to job profile or vacancy (Mathur, 2010). However, broadly defined talent management encompasses the instrumentation of unifying strategies or processes in order to enhance the output of a work place by deploying ameliorate systems and processes for attracting, development, retention and utilization of required skills and abilities of workforce and their aptitude matched with the current and upcoming business needs (Schehar Bano et.al, 2010). Talent management strategies centralize around five basic areas such as attracting, selecting, engaging, developing and retaining employees (Rerrin, 2003) It is generally concerned with practices associated with developing strategy, identifying talent gaps, succession planning and recruiting, selecting, educating, motivating and retaining talented employees through a variety of initiatives (Ringo et.al, 2010). Many authors regard talent management as a managerial strategic priority in the 21st century. The success of an organization is based upon the talent management in today’s competitive market place. The talent management strategies are designed to enhance the productivity of the workplace by developing the improved processes for attracting, development, utilization and retention of skilled people which matches with the current and upcoming business needs. And as it is widely accepted that human resources add value to the organization, the most suitable way to attain competitive advantage for the organization is to keep human resource as a strategic business partner in such a way that it improves the business performance.
Talent contd.. Star performers are considered a key asset of any organization and therefore attract special concentration. Finding these star performers is not the only issue; a bigger problem is actually what to do with them (Cohn et al; 2008). In talent management terminology, this is often referred to as talent positioning that highlights the right talent at right time on right place with the required competencies and inspiration at all levels and locations of the organization. Organizations need to know what kinds of talent they need in order to achieve their goals. For example what are the knowledge and skills employees need based on their business outcomes? But they also need to know the needs and expectations of their employees. What will engage and motivate employees? What will attract them to the organizations? What will keep them there?
Engagement Employee engagement is the level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards their organization and its values. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. It is a positive attitude held by employees towards the organization and its values (Vazirani, 2007).
Many organizations realize that maximum productivity does not come from just a “satisfied” or “happy” employee. They know that the most productive and loyal employee is known as an engaged employee. Such an employee:
Is intellectually and emotionally bound with the organization
Engagement contd.. It is seen largely as the organization’s responsibility to create an environment and culture conducive to the engagement partnership. An organization’s capacity to manage employee engagement is closely related to its ability to achieve high performance levels and superior business results. Some of the advantages of engaged employees are:
Engaged employees will stay with the organization, be an advocate of the organization and its products and services, and contribute to bottom line business success.
They will normally perform better and are more motivated.
There is a significant link between employee engagement and profitability.
They form an emotional connection with the organization. This impacts their attitude towards the organization’s clients, and thereby improves customer satisfaction and service levels.
It builds passion, commitment and alignment with the organization’s strategies and goals.
Increases employees’ trust in the organization.
Creates a sense of loyalty in a competitive environment.
Makes the employees effective brand ambassadors for the organization.
The best way to increase employee engagement is to focus on creating a culture of engagement. Here a culture is defined as including the practices, shared mindset and ethos of an organization. Once the culture is created, engagement becomes “the way we do things around here” and it does not have to be recreated year after year. The Employment Engagement Model below helps to outline how a culture of engagement is created:
Employment Engagement Model Two-way Feedback Financial and Operational Results Trust in Leadership
Culture of Engagement Employee Engagement Career Development Employee Understand their role in success Shared Decision-Making
Employment engagement model contd.. On the left side of the model are the five most important drivers of a culture of engagement ie feed backs, trust, career development, understanding the role and shared decision making. Each driver must be translated into practical systems, practices and structures that are embedded in the organization.
The Value of Leadership Development Today, effective leadership is commonly viewed as central to organizational success and more importance is placed on leadership development than ever before (Hernez-Broome et al 2010). And as Rao (2007) observed, the scarcest resource in the world today is the leadership talent capable of continuously transforming organizations to win in tomorrow’s world. The individuals and organizations that build leadership engines and invest in leaders developing other leaders have a sustainable competitive advantage. The importance of business leadership is well articulated with the observation, “a good leader can make a success of a weak business plan, but a poor leader can ruin even the best plan”. That is why developing effective leadership using a consistent talent management programme at all levels across the organization can return significant business value. Effective leadership development enables companies to react quickly to change and endure difficult times. Without development plans and, more importantly, without the execution of such plans, organizations are unable to prepare talent for future leadership positions, the bench strength of an organization becomes weak and leadership pipelines are truncated.
The Value of Leadership Development contd.. One important question an organization needs to ask itself is: what are the most important leadership competencies which must be developed? The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (1997) identified the required Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) and their underlying competencies. The five executive core qualifications were derived by lengthy collaboration, reflecting the best thinking of many senior executives and associations, as well as human resource professionals and they have since then been applied by several organizations as part of the best practices.
The Five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) are:
The Five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) are: The ECQs are used by many organizations in selection, performance management and leadership development for management and executive positions. Successful leaders address all five qualifications in their development and in carrying out their leadership responsibilities. Experience and training that strengthen the leadership competencies will enhance a leader’s performance.
Leadership Competencies by (ECQ) The five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) outlined above can be further sub-divided into 22 competencies which are needed to develop a leadership culture in the service that drives for results, serves customers, and builds successful teams and coalitions within and outside the organization. Within each of the core qualifications are specific competencies that define areas where employees can assess their knowledge and abilities and target their training, job assignments, education and career path to further develop these leadership attributes and succeed in the organization. The level and scope at which those competencies are performed increase as grade and responsibilities increase.
The Leadership Competencies with their associated(ECQ) are as follows: Core Qualification 1: LEADING CHANGE
The Leadership Competencies with their associated(ECQ) are as follows contd... Core Qualification 2: LEADING PEOPLE
The Leadership Competencies with their associated(ECQ) are as follows contd... Core Qualification 3: RESULTS DRIVEN
The Leadership Competencies with their associated(ECQ) are as follows contd... Core Qualification 4: BUSINESS ACUMEN
The Leadership Competencies with their associated(ECQ) are as follows contd... Core Qualification 5: BUILDING COALITIONS
The Leadership Development Strategies A leadership development strategy is developed by an organization to identify and provide specialized training for potential managers and executives. Leadership development strategy may focus on high potential candidates but may also be provided to all employees at a certain level in an effort to gauge the potential of employees, as well as their desire to move into leadership positions. One of the key advantages of developing leaders internally is that they achieve productivity almost 50% faster than external candidates. This is particularly true for organizations in which knowledge of internal politics and structures are required to get the job done. In addition, promoting leadership development to lower levels of the organization also has a positive impact on morale and therefore assists in employee retention. Research has revealed that the most successful leadership development programmes first recognize and understand the type of leadership style needed for their culture, then align leadership development with overall corporate strategy. To identify, fill and retain leadership talent, organizations need to round out their leadership development programmes with hiring strategies, employee development programmes and succession planning initiatives.
The Leadership Development Strategies contd .. Therefore the most successful leadership development programmes include the following steps:
Identifying leaders through the recruitment and selection processes
Determining the best leadership style for the organizations
Identifying leaders through the recruitment process One way to ensure a consistent flow of leadership talent into an organization is to recruit/select the right people in the first place. The merit principle should always prevail in that recruitment and promotion should be from appropriately qualified individuals selected in a fair and open competition solely on the basis of merit, assessed in relation to the position involved. Identifying leadership gaps The identification of leadership gaps is both an assessment of the individuals and the readiness of the organization. To help fully determine leadership gaps, organizations should:
Determine current and future leadership requirements
Compare those requirements to the current leadership team
Identify succession plans for those at risk or planning to leave
Identify gaps in skills and time required to fill these gaps
Developing Succession Plans Succession Planning is important because it avoids disruption and employee trauma when the CEO leaves, whether the departure is anticipated or not. Succession planning should be organization policy, dealt with openly and deliberately by the organization. Coaching and Mentoring There has been a resurgency of the apprentice model in grooming leadership. Coaching and mentoring has been gaining favour as an element of succession planning programmes. Coaching involves practical, goal-focused forms of one-on-one learning and, ideally behavioral change. It can be a short term intervention intended to develop specific leadership skills or a more extensive process involving a series of meetings over time. Mentoring is typically defined as a committed, long term relationship in which a senior person supports the personal and professional development of a junior person. It may be a formal programme or a much more informal process. Recognizing the value of mentoring, organizations are increasingly looking at ways to formalize these types of relationships s part of their leadership development efforts.
Developing career planning goals for potential leaders Career planning has been considered the responsibility of the individual. However, research show that organizations that support career planning for their employees gain in retention, engagement and protecting the leadership pipeline. There have been incidents when potential leaders have left organizations because there was no career advancement or organizational opportunities. Developing skills roadmap for future leaders Once the high potential employees have been identified, a skills roadmap should be developed for the future leaders. Because people learn and develop new skills both inside and outside the classroom, a development programme needs to support both traditional and non-traditional learning. To support less formal learning activities such as coaching, rotational assignments, mentor relationships, and project leadership should also be part of an employee’s development plan.
Developing career planning goals for potential leaders Leadership retention is critically important for all organizations for two main reasons:
Turnover is expensive
Top performers drive optimum business performance
Therefore both monetary and non-monetary rewards can be used to improve retention for any employee but particular attention needs to be paid to high performers and future leaders. Other ways to retain and motivate future leaders include involving them in the decision making process. This teaches them the stated mission, values and goals of the organization, as well as how they contribute to the success of the business. In addition, an organization with an active engagement programme/policy will accelerate the retention levels of its staff. This can be done through utilizing drivers that are thought to increase overall engagement. Drivers such as communication, performance clarity and feedback, organizational culture, rewards and recognition, relationships with managers and peers career development opportunities, and knowledge of the organization goals and vision are some of the factors that facilitate employee engagement and as a result contribute to higher retention levels.
Challenging job assignments Challenging job assignments are a potent form of leadership development and provide many of the developmental opportunities in organizations today (Hernez-Broome, 2010). The level of organizational involvement in making job assignments part of their leadership development process runs the gamut form simply providing people with information about developmental opportunities in their current job to a systematic programme of job rotation. Using job assignments for developmental purposes provides benefits that go beyond getting the job done and may even result in competitive advantages for the organization. Utilizing the 360- degrees feedback One developmental method has been so pervasive that it deserves somewhat greater attention here: the use of 360-degree feedback to assess leader competencies. Chappelon (2004) noted that perhaps the most remarkable trend in the field of leader development over the past 20 years has been the popularity and growth of 360-degree feed back. In utilizing such systems for employee development, organizations are facitly endorsing an assumption of many learning theories - that providing feedback on performance by the various “stakeholders” will result in improvements in individual’s subsequent performance.
Conclusion Long term organizational success will largely depend on developing appropriate leadership competencies and the strategies through which such competencies can be attained. Getting the best talent and keeping the talent is becoming intensely competitive. When an organization is managing its “talent” effectively, it will have the right people, with the appropriate skills, when and where required at a competitive cost. Organizations should therefore endeavor to overcome the challenges when it comes to leadership development. Such challenges involve:
Identifying qualified candidates to fill the current and future leadership roles and
Having the tools and techniques to develop a comprehensive leadership programme to cultivate and develop the leaders of tomorrow.
Reference Ajarimah AA (2001) Major Challenges of Global Leadership in the Twenty-first century. Human Resource Development International, Vol 4. No. 1, pp 9-19. Chappelow C.T (2004) 360-Degree Feedback. In McCauley C.D (ed) Handbook of Leadership Development. Jossy-Bass pp 58-84. Cohn J. et al (2008) Finding and grooming. Harvard Business Review, December, pp 63-69. DuBrin A.J. (1998) The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Leadership. Prentice Hall of India, New Dehli. Hernez-Broome G et al, (2010) Leadership Development: Past, Present and Future Human Resource Planning, pp 24-32. Kouzes J.M and Posner B.Z (2003) The Leadership Challenge. HB Printing USA Mathur R (2010) Talent Acquisition: A Challenge for Human Resource Professionals. Lachoo Management Journal, Vol 1, No. 1, pp 103-109. Rao T.V (2007) Global Leadership and Managerial Competences of Indian Managers. Indian Institute of Management, Working Paper No. 2007-06-05. Ringo T. et.al., (2010) Integrated Talent Management – Turning Talent Management into a Competitive Advantage. IBM Global Business Services. Schehar Bano et al (2010) Schematizing Talent Management, A Core Business Issue. Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, Vol 2, N0.1, pp 4-16. Shields J et al (2004) Developing Superior Leadership for the Next Generation. Management quarterly, pp 16-25. Vazirani N (2007) Employee Engagement. SIE College of Management Studies Working Paper Series 05/07.