Role of Leadership in Organizations
Leadership has been described as the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. A definition more inclusive of followers comes from Alan Keith of Genentech who said “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.”
In an organization where there is faith in the abilities of formal leaders, employees will look towards the leaders for a number of things. During drastic change times, employees will expect effective and sensible planning, confident and effective decision-making, and regular, complete communication that is timely. Also during these times of change, employees will perceive leadership as supportive, concerned and committed to their welfare, while at the same time recognizing that tough decisions need to be made. The best way to summarize is that there is a climate of trust between leader and the rest of the team. The existence of this trust brings hope for better times in the future, and that makes coping with drastic change much easier.
In organizations characterized by poor leadership, employees expect nothing positive. In a climate of distrust, employees learn that leaders will act in indecipherable ways and in ways that do not seem to be in anyone’s best interests. Poor leadership means an absence of hope, which, if allowed to go on for too long, results in an organization becoming completely nonfunctioning. The organization must deal with the practical impact of unpleasant change, but more importantly, must labor under the weight of employees who have given up, have no faith in the system or in the ability of leaders to turn the organization around.
Strong leaders are essential to business success, which makes leadership development a business imperative in today’s competitive environment. Leaders are needed that can do more than manage – leaders are needed that can make a business great. In addition, there is increasing pressure on organizations to demonstrate the wise investment of development dollars. This requires the effective use of leadership development methods, as well as the ability to demonstrate the success of those methods. The Leadership Scorecard combines an explanation and discussion on best practice leadership development methods and incorporates ROI measurement & evaluation methodology.
The leadership scorecard is a tool that ensures that the leadership development function is focused on accomplishing objectives that are linked to business strategy. The leadership scorecard provides a structure for establishing, tracking, compiling, analyzing, and communicating leadership development results. The leadership scorecard should be customized based on business needs and can contain a variety of measures based on what the business views as critical. A leadership scorecard can be created and implemented even when an HR or corporate scorecard does not exist. This is critical as it enables the leadership development function to take a proactive stance in the creation of measurement and evaluation strategies and become a valued business partner.
The leadership scorecard enables executives to understand the benefits of the leadership development programs to leaders and to the bottom line. The leadership scorecard also provides useful measures for the leadership development staff. The leadership development staff can find out how well a program is working and, based on leadership scorecard data, can improve the program or, if necessary, stop delivery of the program. A focus on using measurement and evaluation for the continuous improvement of leadership development programs can build the credibility of the leadership development function. Data from a leadership scorecard can be used to justify expenditures, build a business case for requesting additional budget dollars, and create management support.
Benefits of Leadership Scorecard
A leadership scorecard can be implemented successfully in any organisation. The benefits of implementing leadership scorecard are many. A few of the benefits that have been experienced by leadership development functions are as the following:
- Management develops an understanding of the benefits of leadership development programs.
- The leadership development function is viewed as adding value to the bottom line.
- The leadership development function becomes very focused on only delivering programs linked directly to the business strategy. This results in a positive return on investment for the organization.
- The leadership scorecard data enables the leadership development function to continuously improve programs or discontinue programs that are not providing positive results.
- The leadership development function is able to assess if the program has impacted behavior change and application back on the job. This is a critical measure of success.
- Leaders are participants in programs that have impact. Leaders are able to see the value in the programs they participate in and the perception of the leadership development function is enhanced.
- The leadership development function is able to justify the annual budget. Budget cuts are not as drastic as in the past due to the leadership development functions ability to show a return on investment.
- The leadership development staff receives career enriching development in the area of measurement and evaluation.
- Communication between the leadership development function and executives becomes more frequent. The leadership development function is able to talk with executives in business terms, such as return on investment and benefit/cost ratios.