Defining The Impact Of Effective Leadership In The Business Ecosystem

Rachana Lokhande, Co-CEO, Kinetic IndiaRachna, in her 16-year long career, has held key positions across a multitude of companies that include R K Swamy BBDO, Aaren Initiative, and RapportWW, prior to joining Kinetic in 2016.

For quite some time now, the quote ‘People leave managers, not companies’, hasn’t left my mind. Effective leadership is a must in order to drive business and evolve with the changing times. But what defines good and bad leadership? For me, an effective leader is someone who goes beyond the realms of tangible aspects like profits to reach-out, tap into the potential of the people, and motivate them to be the best they can be. A matter as subjective as leadership can mean different things to different people, and not all viewpoints will align with mine. However, there are a few fundamental factors that lead to good leadership; and understanding these is just the first step to becoming a better leader.

Leading By Example
The role of a leader is of great responsibility and accountability, more so when their every action has the ability to affect and influence. As a leader, one has to work harder than ever and not back-down when roadblocks hit. Having spent a considerable amount of time in the marketing and advertising industry, I had my share of them and continue to tackle them. Leaders are often put on a pedestal; therefore, leading by example couldn’t be more important in the context of an organization. A leader who just plays into the title or position will inadvertently be unwilling to receive feedback and be close to the ideas and opinions of others. This attitude leads to friction between the leader and the employees, and hence affects the business in the long run.

Good vs. Bad
A study by Firebrand Talent survey revealed a whopping 34 percent of employees leave due to poor leadership. A tell-tale sign of a bad leader is the lack of empathy. It
makes leaders blind to the difficulties being faced by their teams. This can show-up as disregarding their problems and dismissing them as trivial. Whether it’s a lack of resources or lack of clarity towards any project, a good leader tries to eliminate obstacles being faced by the employees. If a situation calls for quick action to be taken or requires changes to be implemented, a good leader tries to make the transition smoother for the employees. An effective leader sets a positive example from ways of communicating, handling pressure situations and dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

Effective Leadership
But at the end of it, how does one measure effective leadership? According to an employee engagement survey conducted by Gallup, a strong positive culture can enhance employee engagement by 30 percent, resulting in up to a 19 percent increase in operating income, and a 28 percent increase in earnings growth. An able leader drives and keeps the organisational culture intact and is the key to employee engagement and retention. The more satisfied employees are, lesser the attrition rate. Consequently, this results in saving on recruiting and training new hires.

A tell-tale sign of a bad leader is the lack of empathy, which makes leaders blind to the difficulties being faced by their teams, and can show-up as disregarding their problems and dismissing them as trivial

Role of Leadership Training
Often times, it is readily assumed that a person in a position of leadership is already equipped to lead and that leadership qualities are inherent which cannot be learned. Nothing could be more away from the truth. While some aspects are intuitive, leaders falter when it comes to implementing those in practice. It’s not surprising how over the past few years, companies have started realizing the importance of leadership, their impact on their business, and slowly but surely are opening-up to the idea of leadership training. Leaders especially benefit from programs that allow for conflict resolution, influence and persuasion as well as the ability to nurture individuals differently. While a leader’s emotional quotient is very important, it’s not just limited to this. There is also a need for training in specific technologies, upcoming tools and trends. Such learning is increasingly necessary due to the digital transformation that is already taking-over businesses and will continue to affect them.

Clearly, the impact of good leadership is both qualitative and quantitative. From creating a holistic and healthy work culture and building an ecosystem of support, understanding and leading by example, to actual tangible increases in employee retention and productivity that ultimately lead to significant savings – the benefits of strong, capable leadership are far-reaching and manifold. Where there is a good leader, there is a motivated team, a strong organisation and an admirable brand.

Most important though is to always pass-on years of learning and experience to the next generation of leaders, for they are the ones who will further the legacy.