These characteristics make one employee stand out from the rest
A true leader can rescue a plan destined for failure, but a bad leader can sink a whole business. That’s how important leadership is in the business world, according to a white paper from the technology firm Oracle. That’s why fostering leadership skills has become one of the top priorities in every kind of organization.
To achieve that, some companies have changed their organizational structures. “We’re seeing structures that are more horizontal, based on networking, in which you create teams to solve specific problems. Then that team disbands and others are organized to meet problems that arise down the road,” explains Javier Hernández Acosta, director of the Business Administration Department at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón.
According to Hernández Acosta, this strategy allows an employee to learn from other disciplines and it encourages that employee to become involved in the company’s processes.
According to the expert, “We’re at a moment when we have to forget about the figure of the manager or administrator and think about the figure of the leader. Now that we’re in the entrepreneurial age, you need people to lead on processes and move the country forward,” he continued.
But what should a company look for among its potential leaders?
For Acosta, it’s vital that they be “people who can identify problems and contribute ideas or solutions.”
He adds that the company should look at those who suggest solutions rather than those who only call attention to problems. “It should be someone who is always moving forward,” he says.
Roberto José Nieves, president of Carimerc, says, “I’d say that you have to look for the people who are empathetic, who put themselves in other people’s shoes when the time comes to make decisions.”
Hernández Acosta agrees, and adds that when people who have knowledge or expertise in a subject get others involved, “that shows their leadership, because they get the best out of people.”
Sometimes it’s not enough to offer solutions to problems if the solutions are those that almost anyone might come up with. That’s why Hernández Acosta suggests focusing on people who are creative, because those are the people who can really “move a team forward.”
In Nieves’ view, it’s important that people aspiring to leadership positions do so not because they want to obtain privileges within the organization. “The leader has to like serving others,” he says. “Moreover, leadership should be a lifestyle with this person, not something exclusive to the workplace.”
Employees usually have very specific areas of specialization, so they focus on small, detailed activities. “A leader can see the big picture. They’re going to look at many parts as they try to find a solution. They take a wide view in order to see the challenges and opportunities,” says Hernández Acosta.
To identify the people who have those characteristics, Nieves stresses that the company should allow employees to have a certain degree of autonomy within the organization.
“As administrators, our job is to foster an entrepreneurial culture of open communication. For example, it’s important to know what moves your employees passionately, because that can help you identify the areas of the company where they can make contributions. And that opens a broader spectrum, so you can know what kind of project you can count on them,” he expresses.
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