The Importance of Strong Organizational Leadership in Any Business
The quality of a company’s leadership can directly impact its bottom line and overall success. Poor leadership can result in a lack of support and motivation among employees, which can lead to inefficiencies and low morale.
Of course, not all leadership styles are the same. More than ever, businesses are beginning to understand the benefits of strong organizational leadership—especially as it pertains to improving engagement, productivity, and retention.
So, what is organizational leadership, what does it look like, and why is it so vital? We’re diving into these important topics as well as the role of strong organizational leadership in growing a business.
What Is Organizational Leadership?
According to Harvard Business School Online, organizational leadership refers to leadership on a large scale. Compared to traditional leadership, where a single individual works to motivate and lead a team, organizational leadership involves many players who aim to lead an entire department or division of a company toward a common goal.
In this sense, organizational leadership is more about looking at the “big picture” within a business, deciding what needs to be done, and then motivating employees within different departments or divisions of the company to do their part to achieve those goals.
Why Is Leadership Important?
In today’s workplace, there’s no overstating the importance of effective leadership at the organizational level. There are many reasons organizational leadership in the workplace matters so much, ranging from employee motivation and morale to retention, job satisfaction, and productivity.
Unfortunately, for many companies, hiring people with strong leadership skills is easier said than done. In fact, 83 percent of businesses find it crucial to develop leaders at every level—yet only about 5 percent succeed.
The Role of Organizational Leadership
What do strong organizational leaders do within a company? The precise duties and responsibilities of these leaders can vary from one role to the next, but there are some basic functions that all effective organizational leaders should be able to carry out.
Setting the Vision and Mission
One of the key principles of organizational leadership is that everyone is collectively working toward a common goal—even if they’re fulfilling different tasks to achieve it. A great organizational leader, then, should be able to see the long-term goals and vision for the company. From there, they should be able to communicate this vision to employees and ensure that every worker has a role in working toward that shared vision.
Creating a Positive Organizational Culture
An unsupportive or even toxic work environment is one of the biggest enemies of organizational growth and progress. When employees don’t feel like they’re being properly supported or encouraged to do their best work, they often lack the motivation to try. In some cases, conflict may even arise between employees or between workers and leaders—all detracting from progress toward the common goal.
A strong organizational leader should focus on fostering and always maintaining a positive workplace culture. This means actively listening to employees when they have feedback or concerns, as well as leading authentically and practicing cultural competence. All of this translates into stronger leadership that motivates and inspires while maintaining harmony in the workplace.
Formulating Effective Strategies
It’s one thing to be able to set long-term goals and visions for a growing business. It’s another thing entirely to formulate specific steps and strategies for achieving those goals. The best organizational leaders should be able to translate goals into realistic, achievable plans that involve every employee of the company. These strategies should be clearly written out so that everyone understands what is expected of them. Likewise, methods for achieving goals should have measurable outcomes so that leaders and workers alike can see the impact of their efforts and make changes as needed.
How Strong Leadership Impacts Employee Performance
There are many ways in which strong organizational leadership can have a direct impact on employee performance, ranging from affecting motivation and retention to satisfaction, innovation, and more.
Motivation and Engagement
With the right leadership in place, employees have someone they can look to for inspiration and motivation. A strong organizational leader will motivate and engage employees on a regular basis, giving them a reason to go above and beyond in their own work and play their part in the company’s overall growth.
Retention and turnover are common concerns for businesses across virtually all industries. Companies with weak leadership have a hard time retaining good employees because these workers aren’t receiving the guidance and recognition they need to stay. With effective organizational leadership in place, it’s possible to improve talent retention and keep quality workers striving for the same goal.
Generally, workers enjoy feeling like their employers care about their development and growth in the field. These employees want to be given opportunities to gain experience and learn professionally. A great leader will recognize and present relevant opportunities to employees so that they can acquire new knowledge and skills. This is a win-win, as these new skills can then transfer to the employee’s own work and benefit the company in turn.
When you think back to the worst job you ever had, what comes to mind? There’s a good chance that the job wasn’t the problem so much as the leadership. This is a common thread throughout many companies, and it can seriously affect employee satisfaction. A lack of strong leadership leaves employees feeling dissatisfied with their jobs. This leads to higher turnover rates and difficulty retaining quality employees.
With strong leadership, you can keep employees feeling satisfied and content in their jobs, keeping them on board while also boosting their output and productivity.
Innovation and Creativity
Does it ever feel like your organization is stuck in the same old ways of thinking and doing things? If so, then it may be time for some new ideas. An effective leader should celebrate and invite innovation and creative thinking in the workplace, taking ideas seriously regardless of whether they come from upper management or an entry-level worker.
Consequences of Weak Leadership
Now that you have a better understanding of what strong organizational leadership can do for a company, it’s time to consider some of the grave consequences of weak leadership that many businesses suffer from.
When organizational leadership is lacking, employees and teams have nobody to turn to for the motivation and inspiration they need. As a result, productivity lags and projects may fall behind schedule. Likewise, the quality of work output may decrease as employees lack the innovation and creativity they need to thrive.
Meanwhile, without a strong leader to look up to, employees may also feel unfulfilled and unrecognized in their work. Their sense of job satisfaction and purpose may plummet, and, in turn, higher rates of turnover may occur. Turnover can be costly to a business of any size, which can negatively impact the company’s bottom line. This is a vicious cycle that, unfortunately, can be difficult to break. And it all starts with a lack of effective leadership.
The Bottom Line on Organizational Leadership
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into building a strong organizational leadership framework. This remains true regardless of the size, scope, or stage of the company. This critical management approach can have far-reaching impacts on the growth and success of the business and its invested employees.
If you’re interested in becoming a stronger organizational leader and making a positive impact, Excelsior University’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Technology and Data Analytics may be right for you. In this 30-credit program, you’ll gain the practical skills and insights needed to lead organizations toward bigger and better things. Plus, this program is available entirely online, so you don’t need to put your life on hold to pursue your advanced degree.