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How to survive the crisis in leadership

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There’s a leadership crisis happening not only in South Africa, but across the globe – and its taking its toll on organisational performance and sustainability.
This is according to Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions, who notes that it is clear that leaders, whether knowingly or unknowingly, have the capacity to make or break an organisation.
“Unfortunately, it’s no longer a case of getting what you pay for, as some of the world’s most well remunerated leaders continue to fail,” she says. “Instead, it is becoming apparent that there is a dire need for a new type – or rather brand – of leadership.
“In turbulent times, be they social, political or economic, organisations really can’t afford not to invest in ensuring they have strong leaders at the helm, together with a clearly articulated leadership development strategy that ensures a strong pipeline of future leadership,” Vittee points out.
She suggests that organisations invest sufficient resources into not only taking stock of how they stand in terms of current leadership capacity but also putting sufficient measures in place to ensure that future leaders are identified and upskilled so that the company’s legacy is maintained in future.
However, Vittee notes that regardless of how much an organisation invests in gauging leadership performance and development, ultimately it comes down to individual leaders understanding that a crisis in leadership generally comes at some kind of economic and/or reputational cost.
“It’s all well and good implementing leadership development strategies, but if these fail to align with the strategy and culture of the organisation, optimal growth and performance will never be achieved,” she explains.
In a world exposed to ongoing change and disruption, the question arises as to what type of leadership traits will be required to build and grow successful organisations, whether they be state or privately owned?
A recent Harvard Business Review article found that the most important leadership competencies, according to leaders around the world, are high ethical and moral standards (67% selected it as one of the most important) and communicating clear expectations (56%).
Vittee notes that, in the current chaotic political and financial environment, it is now more important than ever for leaders to go back to basics – instilling high ethical and moral standards into their leadership style and ensuring it underpins every aspect of the organisational culture.
“Every organisation is founded with a vision in mind, greater than merely delivering on the bottom line. Current and future leaders will need to be brave enough to face the consequences of not delivering on that vision. Ultimately, they need to have the strength of character to take remedial action for the greater good of the organisation,” she says.