Most people will agree that good leadership fuels performance. But what is good leadership? Some believe leading with a carrot brings out the best in people, whilst others believe people need strict boundaries to perform at their best.
The truth is that good leadership looks different in different contexts. It’s subjective; varying from company to company, team to team, project to project.
This is where leadership models come in; they can help assess a leader against the context of their environment. A good leader in one business might not necessarily be as successful in another.
At NSCG, our leadership framework looks at six key competencies: Leads others, understands self, delivers results, leads inclusively, thinks strategically and collaborates with impact. It’s been created, tried and tested by our experts who have decades of experience helping organisations accelerate performance. Grounded in globally recognised frameworks, our model evolves traditional theory to bring in line with the context of leading in the present day..
This series lifts the lid on these competencies, sharing insights from some of our experts. Here Jody shares just what it takes to be able to deliver results…
At NSCG we define this competency as the ability to deliver commercial results aligned to an organisation’s objectives. As a leader you are expected to deliver on numbers be it the bottom line, internal KPIs or otherwise. This competency considers the extent to which a leader is ambitious in expectation, conscientiousness and persistent in one’s commitment to an end goal.
Underpinning this, we define three traits: a commercial mindset, problem-solving skill and the ability to drive transformation.
When we ask organisations which competencies they most need from senior hires one of the most common responses is ‘commerciality’. One needs to probe to understand the true meaning of this ‘catch all’ for each organisation – and in doing we find that the definition can range from ‘having numeric acumen’ to ‘being oriented towards spotting opportunities’, to ‘having competitor insight’ or ‘holding their own in a boardroom debate’. We believe that the key here is the ability of a leader to understand how organisational value is created, to zoom out and look at the business from multiple angles, to incorporate competitor insights and to set and deliver ambitious organisational goals.
Problem solving isn’t just about a leader’s ability to think creatively, it’s also about their ability to empower their team to do so. We assess for astute problem solvers who identify alternative solutions and are willing to suggest new angles on a situation They should be brave enough to challenge the status quo and suggest innovative approaches, fostering an environment where diverse ideas are welcomed. Balancing the tried-and-true with the novel is crucial to making sound decisions. Part of this is cognitive capacity, the ability to quickly filter and simplify complex information.
Leadership research identifies that the vast majority of change initiatives in organisations fail to fully deliver on their objectives. The main reasons for this include a shortfall in the capabilities and skills needed to lead the future organisation, lack of management capability to lead the change itself and a failure of leadership to address the emotional side of change. So when we probe to understand a leader’s ability to drive transformation, we are considering how proactive the leader is in their contribution to a change roadmap that is connected to the organisational strategy, process and standards. They must be able to flex between task and people – setting out an inspiring vision, sharing the detailed rationale and remembering to listen, observe and tackle emotion and invest in ‘what’s in it for you’. They’ll demonstrate an ability to focus commitment, actions and alignment to end goals and to develop clear plans that resonate with employees at all levels of the organisation: when employees understand how their role fits into the bigger picture, they are more likely to engage and perform effectively.