One of the most important attributes of leaders today and in the future is the ability to navigate through complex and constant change and to remain resilient and authentic, with a focus on people and the ‘bigger picture’.
For most businesses, particularly those we work with here in New Zealand, the landscape has changed considerably over the last few years. With this change, the complexity of running businesses and teams has necessitated the need for leaders to evolve and adapt.
No longer does a title afford you respect. People will join an organisation based on the leaders of that organisation, the meaningful work that the organisation does and the personal growth they will receive through these associations. People no longer work for organisations, they work withorganisations.
So what does a leader now need to win the hearts and minds of their people?
The Key Traits of Leaders
One of the most common challenges we see in a myriad of businesses is a lack of investment in supporting leaders to make these changes. As a result we have seen many become casualties, rather than rise to the challenge with the support they deserve.
It is important to note that many of these leaders are truly talented and with the right support, coaching and encouragement they may well have made the leap into leadership. Instead, they have been left scarred and with self doubt, believing that they have somehow failed or that this is a reflection of their own failings. They then carry this to the next organisation they join or they elect to not put their hand up for the next big role. Resigning themselves to the “fact” that they just don’t have what it takes.
All too often we see NZ organisations electing to engage a search agency to find overseas talent at a senior level, with the belief that we do not have the right talent or capability in NZ. As a New Zealand based talent business, we know this is not the case. In fact, we see high performing individuals who are entirely capable of taking on the challenge, but do not bring with them the mystery of being international.
Supporting our Future Leaders & Growing NZ leadership Talent
So how do we ensure that we support and arm our leaders to navigate, impart and grow exceptional leadership talent in NZ, helping to plug gaps throughout their careers, in readiness for the big role?
Some key tips that come from the leading Kiwi businesses are doing things:
- Have a succession plan and road map for your talent and key roles.
- Hire and promote based on attributes and leadership styles instead of purely technical skills.Throw away the CV and assess people on outcomes, achievements and raw talent. Don’t judge on what they have done before, but rather what they can do for you.
- Be aware of your own bias and its impact on your decisions - do these align with what is best for the business and the greater good?
- Help your future leaders gain exposure to projects and situations that will allow them to grow, and create a culture that enables people to take risks and learn from mistakes along the way.
- Give people access to coaches and mentors – internally and externally.
- Allow people to be authentic. Let them bring themselves to work, not a version of themselves.
- Involve people and accept that as a leader success does not fall merely on your shoulders. It requires a community of minds and diversity of thought.
Talk show host John Oliver recently suggested on his show that NZ should have a flag that states:“we are not Australia” (NSFW, language). I thought this was extremely funny at the time, but on a more serious note, perhaps we as Kiwis need to start having more confidence in ourselves and the talent that we have here to lead organisations.
When I worked in the UK they used to say ‘give me a Kiwi any day’ and they never doubted our ability to get the job done, even when we had never done the role before. Perhaps as Kiwis we are just a little risk-averse and need to challenge ourselves as leaders to grow ourselves and our people, and provide environments that appreciate that great leaders are not always born, they are also developed.
Want to find out more about nurturing and developing your own leadership skills and for your business? Get in touch today.