Can profiling create a more effective workforce?

That the workforce is the backbone of any organisation is undisputable. Team members are at the frontline on a daily basis, dealing with clients, creating business and setting the standards for products or services being offered. As such, organisations are required to foster an engaging work environment where employees feel valued, are nurtured and (equally important) can observe and experience the strategic direction that the organisation is taking. Part of this roadmap requires individuals in leadership positions to possess the necessary skills and competencies to drive the organisation and their team members towards this goal.

One of the key challenges organisations face is the capabilities of individuals taking up leadership roles. Indeed, the root cause of such challenges might lie in the promotion policies of the organisation; often, individuals are promoted based on their technical skills and knowledge and in the process end up leading a group of team members, which is in itself a duty and responsibility that requires an additional set of skills. Leading a team is quite different from dealing with a machine, or handling statements of accounts or overseeing a consultancy engagement as one is now dealing with possibly the most complex factor of all – the human being – so it is no wonder many organisations consider people qualified in psychology for human resources roles. In other words, and putting it bluntly, it is like giving the keys of a sports car to an individual who has just obtained their driving license. In organisations and in the leadership context, the repercussions can be huge. From talent exiting the organisation, a disengaged workforce, frequent conflict, lack of inspiration, huge resistance to change, a un-collaborative working environment to no sense of belonging, the list is endless.

How can organisations mitigate these risks?

How can organisations develop their leadership team? A frequently asked question by many is “Are leaders born leaders, or can one develop into a leader?” Well, this is a very tricky one in the sense that some individuals naturally and undeniably possess leadership traits from a very young age. Yet, through experience, I did meet individuals who were willing to adjust their leadership style, who wanted to learn, and who wanted to succeed in their role. The importance of approaching a leadership development program with an open mind is crucial for success to take place. More importantly, identifying which leadership areas and traits are to be developed can help organisations enhance their leadership pipeline.

Leadership profiling tools

Leadership profiling tools help leaders to identify, evaluate and utilise their strengths to assist them in their leadership development. They can support leaders and leadership teams to identify and overcome their development areas, transforming them into opportunities that drive results and positive change.

A complete 360 feedback report generated by profiling tools provides learning and development specialists, coaches, and mentors with key information on the areas one should focus on. Moreover, such tools provide a complete holistic feedback from all the individual’s superiors, colleagues and direct reports, thus providing a complete picture of the participant’s strengths and areas of improvement.

Some believe that these tools are an extravagance and do not believe in the benefits. However, allow me to invert the statement here. Lack of such tools, and lack of leadership development are ways of losing money! Look at your turnover rate, your workforce engagement results, your levels of innovation and creativity and more, and you might reach a conclusion on whether such profiling is required or not.

Obviously, it goes without saying that a report generated from such systems is not going to directly improve your leadership team. Unless a well designed and implemented learning and development strategy is in place, then the reports become useless and yes a waste of money. But, if organisations take the results of the profiling exercise seriously, and follow it up with a development plan that takes into consideration the transferability component (the transfer of knowledge within the workplace), then true leadership traits will start becoming more noticeable - and yes I am a firm believer that leaders can be developed!

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