LEADERSHIP is all about the ability to impact and influence your followers to engage them towards achieving results for your organisation through the approaches of ontological humility and servant leadership, blended with elements of social intelligence.

Leadership is an art and a science. It is an art because it continually evolves, changes form, and requires creativity.

It is a science because there are certain essential principles and techniques required.

Good leaders know when it is time to change shape because they are highly attentive to those around them.

Coming from a position of strength, great leaders take risks by freeing up the creative genius in their followers to build their capability and multiply the talents of the organisation.

By powerfully communicating a vision that animates, motivates and inspires their followers, great leaders can transform their organisations.


The new realities: results-based leadership

On-going research by the Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global) indicates that, with the right leadership development support including executive coaching, those with leadership potential can be developed into outstanding leaders.

Emotional Intelligence competencies are perhaps the most challenging for leaders to develop effectively and yet are the ones that often have the most impact.

As emotionally intelligent leaders rise through the ranks of their organisation, their profiles become more visible to employees and their increased power can have greater impact on achieving organisational results (see Figure 1).


Putting employees first before customer and profits

Putting the customer first has been the mantra of many companies for a long time. But however correct that mantra may be, perhaps it is time to question the wisdom of it.

Some companies already have, in fact, put the customer second, after employees.

The results are surprising and enlightening — engaged and contented employees and companies cited for their best practices. Moreover, customers are satisfied too.

Steady, long-term competitiveness requires an organisation to be committed to putting employees first and developing quality training programmes that are linked to its strategic objectives.

Without a true commitment to employees at all levels of an organisation, the journey to enhance organisational performance will be an elusive adventure.

Quality employees equate to organisational success. Unqualified and poorly trained employees equate to organisational failure.

An organisation’s employees have always made the difference between a truly successful organisation and a mediocre entity, but it is amazing how often managers overlook or discount this fundamental recipe for economic survival.

Organisations with cultures that focus on their people and invest in their future will be, in the long run, more competitive than cultures that view employees as mere costs to be reduced in times of trouble.

Extensive research, including that by CEE Global, indicates that the organisation that plans every action around its employees will thrive in the marketplace.

How to improve employee loyalty is one of the most difficult problems that business leaders today grapple with.

Research consistently shows that by putting employees first, you can actually deliver on your promise of “customers first”.

That is, if the business of management and managers is not to put employees first, it is going to be difficult to achieve the “customer first” experience anyway.

We have consistently found that the “employees first” approach produces far more passion than any motivational or recognition programme.

Why? Because it proves that management understands the importance of the work being done by the employees in the first place.

It demonstrates that we are actively helping them in ways that make it easier for them to do their jobs. It shows that we trust them to do what needs to be done in the way they believe it should be done.

And it shows that we respect them for the value they bring to the company.

We give them understanding, help, trust and respect, which are the drivers of employee engagement.


Leading with wisdom

There is growing evidence that the range of abilities that constitute what is now commonly known as emotional intelligence plays a key role in determining success in life and in the workplace.

Since leaders lead people, the style with which you do it is important.

It must truly represent you, fit with the situation, the results you wish to achieve and the people you hope will follow your lead.

In truth, having a particular style is not as essential to being a leader as having a vision of what could exist, being committed to the vision, bringing great energy to realising that vision and having people to support you towards achieving great organisational results.


Article by Prof Sattar Bawany, chief executive officer & C-Suite master executive coach of the Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global), which offers human capital management solutions including talent management and executive development programmes that help leaders develop the skills and knowledge to embrace change and catalyse success in today’s workplace. For details, visit www.cee-global.com or e-mail sattar.bawany@cee-global.com