[April 2018] How to raise a generation of accountable leaders?

By Sebastien De Stoop, Executive Consultant & project manager at Lee Hecht Harrison Thailand


As yours certainly, many companies are going through periods of inflection and transformation, and it often means that they are pausing and reflecting on what kind of leadership they need in their companies to drive digital transformation and to make sure they’re able to drive high performance. Additionally, they may need to turn around their performance, and they are expecting different things from their leaders; to support the growth of companies, which is expected as well by our host Country. To do so, companies are investing significantly more in leadership development. As a global company, we, at Lee Hecht Harrison, have seen that those companies are not satisfied with the results of their investment.

Where is the problem?

We tried to understand what the nature of this recurrent problem is, to help our clients: dissatisfaction with the leadership means less productivity, less business, less money. Then, in 2017, we conducted a double survey, with a double representative panel of more than 2000 of our customers. The results were consistent: seven clients out of ten were finding that the leadership accountability was a critical issue in their business. Amazingly only three clients out of 10 were satisfied with the degree of accountability demonstrated by their own leaders. That is what we called: “The Leadership Accountability Gap”, and that is what organizations are challenged with.

What makes accountable leaders?

We compared the industry leaders, the average companies, and the low performing companies. That is where we found the behaviors, practices, and attributes of high performing companies.

As for the behaviors, the top five companies have in common to hold others to high standards of performance: they set the bar high, they do not tolerate mediocrity. Second, they tackle tough issues and are not afraid to make difficult decisions: they have courage. Third, they communicate the strategy throughout the organization. Fourth, they express optimism about the company and its future. And finally, they display clarity about the external trends in their business environment.

What are the top 5 practices of industry-leading companies? They define and communicate clear expectations of their leaders. They ensure that leaders have strategic clarity. They foster diversity in their organization. They find ways to bring leaders together to build relationships and network.

What about attributes of the leadership culture in the top 5 companies? When you go into industry-leading companies and start looking at the leaders in action, you see that they are passionate about the strategy and the company. The leaders have clarity about what customers value. They are committed to modelling the values of the organization. The leaders have a high degree of personal maturity. They show up with a one company mindset.

How to develop a generation of accountable leaders?

In our firm’s book The Leadership Contract, the author Dr. Vince Molinaro positions that a dual response is required by the organization and individual leaders.

Organizations must make leadership accountability a strategic priority: they need to make this the topic of conversation at the Decision level. Organizations must define and articulate expectations of their leaders: you cannot hold leaders accountable if you do not set clear expectations of what it means to be a leader in your company. They must address the mediocre and unaccountable leaders, that is a big challenge for many of our organizations (1 organization out of 5 don’t do it).

As for leaders, they must embrace this idea of a leadership contract, which means that first, they must make the clear decision to define themselves as leaders and truly step up in their roles. Then, they must be clear on what their obligations are. Leaders must understand that leadership is hard work, and they must get tough. They must really build that sense resilience and determination. And finally, leaders must connect. They need to build relationships with leaders across the organization.

What is the way forward?

Here in Thailand, the LHH Consultants have been certified to conduct the workshops, training and coaching programs related to The Leadership Contract, either in English or Thai. Every workshop and coaching start with a strong focus on self-awareness, supported by the Myers Briggs Type Instrument (MBTI©), the famous and recognised personality instrument.

We run free keynotes and presentations on a regular basis. On a quarterly basis, we have public sessions of the two main programs quarterly: The Leadership contractTM designed for the C-level positions and individual leaders, and The Accountable ManagerTM to be delivered to frontline managers (blended or on e-learning).

Do you want to run the survey in your own company, do you have any inquiries for an in-house workshop? If you would like to be further informed about the dates of our public workshops, talks and training, please feel free to contact me at: sebastien@lhh.co.th

LHH

Sebastien has now 20 years of experience working on career coaching and talent development. He has been cooperating with a large range of companies, whether they were NGO, SME, International companies, governmental agencies and local governments. He has a specific expertise in Change Management, Career Management, Active Placement, groups and one-to-one Trainings. He is a MBTI certified practitioner, and accredited on “The Leadership Contract” trainings. He believes that “the best ambition is to have some for the others”. Friendly and empathetic, he follows the person-centered approach in each and every of his interventions.

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