It’s a problem that affects some of the best businesses, and it can hit hard. What happens when a leader is so successful that everything comes to depend on them, and then suddenly they’re no longer there?
It’s often said that the best leaders train new leaders and leave a lasting legacy. The Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders awards celebrates companies where this is possible.
One of the big winners recently was Goodyear: CEO, Richard J Kramer, responded that a culture of collaboration is key to its business strategy. David Seaton, CEO of fellow winner Fluor, said that effective leadership at all levels is a priority in his company.
However, many businesses struggle to get this approach working, for the simple reason that employment insecurity makes people wary about training their potential replacements. Although distributed leadership skills are undoubtedly an asset, developing them requires creating a sufficient sense of security and confidence first, and this can’t be taken for granted even at senior levels.
Identifying employees with leadership potential also requires giving employees lower down in the business hierarchy the confidence to assert themselves without worrying that they’re going to be seen as too pushy.
Although it’s still important to have a clear structure of responsibility, and those that are higher up need authority as well as the power to inspire. Businesses thrive when every employee feels able to contribute ideas, and this means that the brightest and most consistently innovative can be marked as potential candidates for internal leadership training programmes.
“In today’s complex and unpredictable business landscape, Top Companies for Leaders are passionate about cultivating resilient and engaging leaders who take the time to know and develop their talent and understand what experiences they need to rise above the rest.” said Aon Hewitt’s Pete Sanborn, commenting on the award choices.
Deborah Hulme, Director, Minerva Engagement
Minerva Engagement improves business from the inside out. Ask us about our Evolve for Change programme designed to equip current and future leaders with the skills required to thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment. View more blogs from Minerva Engagement or follow us on Twitter @MinervaEngage.