5 Leadership Competencies that Should be a Part of your Organizational Strategy

In 2016, the Harvard Business Review published five important leadership qualities after surveying close to 200 business leaders around the world. The results are a handful of qualities that answer the question, “What makes a successful leader?” Adding these competencies into the framework of our organizations could be the key to operating with greater success. 

Here are five leadership qualities you should evaluate and develop within your management team, according to Harvard’s research:

  • Demonstrating ethics and safety
  • Creating a strong self-organization model
  • Implementing a sense of belonging
  • Supporting and encouraging new ideas and continuous learning
  • Establishing a growth-focused culture

Demonstration of ethics and safety

Two of the most highly rated attributes of the HBR survey fell under the broad category of demonstrating ethics and safety. The top attribute was that leaders should have high ethical and moral standards. This makes sense since leaders must develop employees, and to do so, they must first start with a foundation of trust and confidence. 

The other attribute that scored highly in this category is that a leader should clearly communicate expectations. These two attributes fit nicely together because if you have high ethical and moral standards, it’s important this culture be communicated, clearly, from the top down within an organization. Together, these traits equate to an environment of fairness and trust where employees feel that the expectations placed upon them are understandable, safe and agreeable.

Strong self-organization model

If expectations and values are clearly communicated, strong leaders feel that organizing daily operational tasks should be left up to the discretion of employees. The HBR survey found that top leaders liked to create a culture of self-organization where employees feel empowered to complete their daily work as they see fit. In this model, leaders are the example, helping other managers and team members self-organize through learning and leadership. This leads to more dedicated employees with greater job satisfaction.

Creation of a sense of belonging

Leaders felt that a strong sense of connection and belonging was established when they used strong communication skills, and communicated openly and often while creating an environment where teams succeed or fail together. Feeling connected to others serves both an evolutionary purpose as well as an emotional one.

Feeling like you belong in a group is an evolutionary principle applied to keep people safe from predators. Additionally, being social impacts emotional well-being and makes for an all-around happier workplace while promoting accountability. These are all things for which strong leaders should strive.

Appreciation for new ideas and continuous learning

Among the top ten qualities valued by leaders were “flexibility to change opinions” (ranked  #4), “being open to new ideas and approaches” (ranked #7) and “provides safety for trial and error” (ranked #10). This all amounts to leaders who appreciate new ideas and want to foster an environment for learning and innovation. 

When employees are scared to bring ideas to the table or, rather, to make mistakes by trying something new, it decreases their ability to focus on anything but the looming threat of getting things wrong. This is not an environment conducive to learning and growth. In a learning environment, employees must feel empowered to innovate, even when it means sometimes getting it wrong, and they need to be able to do so without fear of retaliation in order to perform their best.

Growth-focused Mindset

When leaders are committed to training and developing employees to grow into new roles, like leadership, they connect with employees on a primal level by showing them they are valued and capable. This promotes reciprocal feelings of gratitude and loyalty that are important for fostering an inspiring corporate culture.

If your organization is growing, it’s important that you scale with the right leadership team. A partnership with Natalie Lynch and her team of HR, strategy, and business psychology experts offers the consultation and guidance to get you through your next organizational transition. Lynch has been practicing for over a decade and has the skills and experience to help you grow. Contact Natalie Lynch today.


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