In times of calamity, and with a year behind us like we’ve had, it’s easy to get caught up in the mere day-to-day existence of our organizations. Thriving takes a backseat to surviving. Many of us are just getting back on our strategic feet and assessing losses, keeping one eye on the horizon for any looming COVID-19 related squalls.
While some businesses and organizations struggled to stay necessary in the pandemic, some became more necessary than ever. Last spring, we quietly held our breath, looked around and waited to see what the advancing invisible enemy do. For many, that pause was merely a beat as we evaluated, then pivoted to continue to offer services, care for one another, and move forward with our missions, however altered.
The success (and potentially, the survival) of these organizations could largely be due to leadership. This past year, we looked beyond our C-Suite leaders, for leaders at every level of effective organizations, magnifying the importance of having the vision to create these leaders in the first place.
In his article, Should You Really Build Leaders At Every Level Of Your Organization?, Doug Sundheim, leadership strategist, offers a contemporary definition of leadership that varies from the traditional “visionary direction-setting and fearlessly leading the troops into future with a few big strategic decisions.”
Sundheim offers a more useful definition for leadership in today’s rapidly moving business: critical and collaborative thinking and action, given what you see in front you. We expect this from our senior leaders, but unless we are willing to invest in the leaders at every level of an organizations, we risk succumbing to the threat of dissolution.
When COVID-19 hit, we needed each person in each role, to not only perform their duties to the fullest extent, but we needed them fill the gaps in the line, with whatever level of preparedness they could muster. Healthcare workers filled roles of family members, counselors, and caretakers. Grocery store employees became frontline workers, delivery drivers became some of the MVP’s of the pandemic, and we all became cleaning machines. Leadership at every level in an organization creates the structure for success.
ForgeWorks recognizes the importance of seeking out and strengthening Emerging Leaders. It is a move that strengthens organizations for the betterment of both the employee, their colleagues, and those they serve.
I’m not talking mutual funds and stocks, but the recognition of potential critical and collaborative thinkers, confident enough to take action. Investing in the Emerging Leaders of your organizations instills a sense of value in staff members, along with a confidence to grow their skills. When an organization takes an interest in growing leaders, the individual benefits, as well as the organization. Productivity soars, employee retention solidifies, and the community as a whole becomes stronger.
ForgeWorks is pleased to have been part of this process and seen leaders grow out of the back kitchens, entry-level healthcare positions, and HR recruiters. These leaders took the reigns this past year, and kept organizations on track. The work community is stronger, the morale is higher, the employment environment is more appealing and employee retention is up. Emerging Leaders education is just one of the strategies ForgeWorks can facilitate to align your team with a successful future, no matter what obstacles you encounter.
Certainly celebrate the leaders you have, but have the forethought to seek out and grow leaders that work behind that thin veil between surviving and thriving. ForgeWorks can help.
Contact us to learn more.
Steve Jeffrey is the Co-Founder/Guild Master of ForgeWorks and is passionate about building great foundations in people and non-profit organizations. His work is focused on innovation, strategy, affiliations and cultural alignment.