Today’s leaders are faced with challenges in the business world that have intensified due to changes in technology and social media. The way in which people communicate with each other is dramatically impacting how businesses are operating. This has created a demand for a different quality of leader.
Dr. Don Page—Senior Fellow at Trinity Western University, as well as renowned speaker and leadership consultant—believes that the business world is experiencing a crisis due to its failure to create strong leadership. Part of this can be blamed on the way organizations have traditionally promoted leaders.
“I’m concerned about the turnover in leadership because people are not prepared for the responsibilities,” says Page.
Leadership and mentorship
Having seniority or being a successful manager or salesperson does not necessarily make someone a good leader, says Page.
“A manager is about sustaining the status quo in the administrative side of things, and doing it efficiently and effectively. But a leader takes an organization forward into the future,” says Page.
“They have to have the courage to go forward and try something, have resilience to sustain critique, and have a certain humility that allows them to be a learner, a good listener and a good team player.”
The number one way in which leaders are most effectively developed in all organizations is through a proper mentoring relationship, says Page.
“The mentoring relationship allows you to get the experience of someone who is knowledgeable and can develop the whole person and what that person needs to perform the responsibilities that are required of them.”
This produces the best results. Especially when a leader needs to make a decision—whether to acquire another business, develop a new product, set up a branch organization in another city, or hire new people.
Mentorship is a deliberate effort to hone skills. It’s about asking what needs to be accomplished, and what kind of decision can best accomplish that task.
Mistakes in leadership
Thinking they have all the answers, avoiding conflict and not working on developing a team are the biggest mistakes that leaders make according to Page.
“70% of the reason why people leave jobs is a dissatisfaction with their immediate supervisor,” says Page. “They’re a bully, they don’t listen … whatever reason.”
The model used at Trinity Western and by Page is “servant-ship.” Leaders should consider the way in which they can serve vendors, suppliers and employees in a constructive, ethical and moral way.
“A leader needs to say, ‘How can I serve people to enable them to develop their greatest potential?’ As opposed to, ‘I want people to serve my interests’”.
Breaking the cycle
The newly developed Leadership Certificate program at Trinity Western University develops necessary qualities in a practical way. Many people already in leadership positions haven’t had an opportunity to learn skills vital to leading a business.
“A person thinks that because they are a good faculty member, they would be a good chair of a department. But absolutely not,” says Page. “You may be super in the classroom, but that doesn’t make you the kind of person who can lead an entire university and represent that university in the wider community.”
Many organizations are in a constant cycle of replacing CEOs and Vice Presidents, which can hinder the business long-term.
“The reality is that unless we’re serious about doing something about leadership training, we are going to have a constant turnover revolving door,” says Page. “You want to evolve the quality of leader who will be able to sustain that business and take it into the challenges of the future.”