Seven principles of leadership

Oct 27 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Effective leadership boils down to seven key principles, according to a new guide for employers.

And, however good your leaders may be, they will only get it right if the message on how to lead comes from the top, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development guide has stressed.

The guide, Effective Leadership Development, has suggested firms need to have a strategy for leadership development in place, one that looks at what leadership skills are required and why.

Organisations also need to select managers with the potential to become good leaders and fulfil the leadership skills required.

They need to give them the right training to help managers to gain skills and become good leaders.

There needs to be a clear career development policy in place, as leadership requirements will vary depending on the task and role.

Leadership development should be integrated closely with career development, it added.

Next, line managers need to act as leadership mentors, with more experienced managers who have learnt through their mistakes helping by advising new managers.

Sixth, there needs to be self-development, ensuring managers learn from their actions through reflection and use of mentors.

Finally, organisations need to understand what is required from leaders and then put it into practice themselves.

If all managers and those at the top take action to develop leadership then this will become part of the culture, the guide argued.

Guide author John Adair said: "Success depends on leadership shown at every level in an organisation, therefore employers must pay careful attention when selecting and training their leaders.

"A person who shows leadership capabilities at one level is not always capable of exercising them at the next level Ė competence is a must," he added.

The principles also make a clear link between task needs, team maintenance needs and individual needs Ė the outcome of every situation involving leadership depends on these three factors.

"Leaders must possess the skills and expertise to ensure the group works together as a team in order to get the task done. But leadership requires more than equipping leaders or would-be leaders with knowledge and skills," Adair added.

Ultimately, if you want to embed strong leadership principles within your business, you have to recognise that strong leadership is more about everyone else in your organisation than it is about you.

"The secret to becoming a successful leader is recognising the greatness that lies in others," he concluded.