Over this series of blogs, we have been emphasising the importance of Organisational Leadership Alignment, or OLA. Why is important? Quite simply if businesses are going to achieve what they set out to do, as well as be a great place to work, it is critical that all employees understand what’s important at any given point in time, and why. That way, everyone’s efforts are focused in the same direction and everyone shares in the satisfaction of achievement.
But what’s the best way for organisations and senior leaders to support and develop those key front-line leaders tasked with ensuring that the enterprise’s people are encouraged, directed and supported to deliver results in the right way?
Many organisations invest heavily in developing their front-line leaders and these programs undoubtedly equip those people to be more effective leaders. Much of the content in these programs is management orientated including modules such as effective coaching conversations; setting objectives and holding people to account; performance management conversations etc – all very useful skills.
However, we believe that a number of these same organisations investing in skills development miss a great opportunity to add context to the content and in doing so, miss an opportunity to maximise their return on this investment. Because in addition to the skills and knowledge they require to perform their role, there is something deeper that senior leaders can provide to their front-line colleagues. And that is context.
In our work, we speak with front-line leaders in many organisations. With some leaders you can feel the energy, the passion and the connection they have with the organisation’s purpose and more specifically the connection with their own leaders. In other organisations, although the front-line leaders may be equally skilled, that sense of connection and energy is not there. If we can see it in a conversation, the people they lead can feel it every day.
So, what can you do as a senior leader to develop the front-line over and above putting in place a skills based front-line leaders programme (which should be the absolute minimum)? A few ideas:
- Establish coaching and mentoring programs for front-line leaders with internal senior leaders;
- Review how the priorities of the senior leadership team are decoded and communicated to the organisation – are front-line leaders given an opportunity to consider the information and ask questions before communicating to their teams?
- Invest in Organisation Leadership Alignment – having all your leaders on the same page is not hard but it takes effort and commitment. We have worked with several clients to break down the invisible barriers between leadership layers in organisations. This is the key to liberating the potential of your organisation.
Organisational Leadership Alignment is not only an investment in delivering on your goals and creating a great workplace, it is a fantastic development opportunity for your leaders. Having leaders from all levels of the organisation in a room discussing “what’s important right now” not only informs and aligns, it challenges thinking and ways of working that no skills-based program can.
We would love to talk to you more about Organisational Leadership Alignment in your business. Let’s set up a time!