Just as the strength of a plant is in its roots, the strength of a building is in its foundation; and the strength of a business is its leaders.
When assessing the health, long-term sustainability, and success of a business, one has to examine the strength of the leaders. There are many elements that affect the results that an organization achieves, however, the real strength; the roots that sustain and support the rest of the organization, lies in developing extraordinary leaders. When the plant’s roots are weak and not well embedded, it cannot get water and the nutrients that support and grow a plant. When the stem is weak the branches and leaves will be equally weak.
A great leader, like a strong root, provides the foundation of a business. A great leader will stay true to their personal convictions, act swiftly in times of uncertainty, focus on developing people, build trusting relationships, be accountable for and to the business and inspire others to be exceptional. These attributes go beyond the traditional skills and business acumen that result in someone being promoted in the first place.
Great leaders are flexible and can modify their behaviours to meet the needs of a particular circumstance. Leaders who are truly the foundation of an organization have found the ability to leverage their competencies into strengths. They are capable of:
- Having an internal focus, while ensuring that the people in the organization meet all the external needs.
- Taking business aptitude and developing it into strong, trusted business relationships.
- Creating a vision so clear that others can see it as well, and become completely aligned with one vision.
- Focusing on accountability, while providing an environment of empathy and coaching others to develop.
When leaders are strongly grounded in their beliefs, they provide a solid foundation for others to grow. Without growth we have decay and that does not lead to the desired results.
One way of diagnosing the strength of a leader, and therefore the organization, is to assess their abilities. Consider conducting a 360 degree assessment, involving both internal reports and peers, as well as external clients or suppliers. Sometimes organizations also include the assessments of friends and family.
A company may have great products, people, business plans and some success; however, it is the strength of exceptional leaders that will make an organization grow and be truly successful. If you believe that your organization could achieve more, look to its leaders, and make sure you have the right individuals in the right roles. Ensure that they are well supported and given the opportunities to become the strong foundation or root system that your organization needs.