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The Importance of Leadership at all Levels of an Organization


The larger the organization, the greater need there is for systems, structure and organization. Along with that is management and, of course, leadership. The basics of being a leader are important to get a clear understanding of as people are often confused about the elements. There’s also a fair amount of misunderstanding about its importance at many levels of the organization – it doesn’t just apply at the very top and trickle down. Good leaders take charge to get better results for the whole organization.

Acceptance of Responsibility

At the root is acceptance of responsibility. When someone purporting to be the leader either shirks responsibility or won’t accept the blame for mistakes, both their peers and subordinates lose a degree of respect for them. Most likely you’ve seen this happen before. The outcome isn’t pretty. Therefore, for anyone to be a leader, they must be leadership material.

One definition of a leader in the military is “someone I’d be willing to fight alongside.” That’s often as real as it gets. The soldier needs to know that in the middle of a firefight, they’re not going to leave their side. Also, their superior might have previous experience to bring to bear strategically that will influence the outcome.

Ethics and Legality

There is an acceptance of responsibility required with true leaders accepting responsibility for a team failure even if they weren’t directly involved. The buck stops with them. Every company has standards they expect to keep, ethics to adhere to and the right decisions to make. Making shortcuts or questionable decisions at the corporate level often has dire consequences later. It’s best to do the right thing and in so doing, lead by example for the rest of the workforce. It’s also about protecting the brand.

For instance, at one point, Pepsi Co was approached by a disgruntled Coca Cola employee who was offering documents with proprietary information. Despite the cola wars over the years, Pepsi declined to pay for the stolen document cache. Instead, they informed Coca Cola that they had an information leak and then went to the authorities who stepped in. The leaders at Pepsi were clear that while winning was a high priority for them, doing the right thing and operating in a legal manner were just as important.

Mission Clarity

Knowing the mission of the organization is key to getting everyone to row in the same direction. For instance, at one point, Microsoft’s mission was “to put a computer on the desk of every home and office.” Decisions were made based on this overarching mission. Often, missions seem incredibly lofty and take many years, thousands of individual actions, a grand vision, and the “buy-in” of everyone in the organization all moving in the same direction toward a common goal.

Take the current Space X mission to colonize Mars and be an interplanetary species. Entrepreneur Elon Musk doesn’t think small and he has a talented group of dedicated engineers, programmers, designers and other employees (some of whom present their live rocket launch broadcasts on YouTube). Different stages of every launch are cheered on by onlookers. Musk also took part in a Mars TV series which was part documentary and part scripted sci-fi drama to place emphasis on both the Space X mission and how they plan to achieve it.

Every Department Requires Leadership

Employees want to be inspired. They don’t wish to feel like the work is a drudgery or that they’re just going through the motions unsure why they’re even there. Ultimately, pencil pushers don’t feel satisfied. With team dynamics, while the work that’s being completed is often difficult to connect directly to the achievement of the organization, every department does their bit to help the organization get ahead.

While knowing what the CEO is thinking is helpful for staff and being on the company’s mission is invaluable, in larger organizations it’s often the case that many individual staff have never formally met the CEO or spoken with him or her. It is therefore up to the managers to perform a leadership role where not only do they convey and embody the mission of the organization, but also that they guide their team through one success after another. These are two different aspects to being a manager and having people look up to you.

Not Everyone is a Natural Born Leader

Not everyone receives leadership training as they’re coming up. If you didn’t receive management or leadership pointers when studying at college, then there may not have been the opportunity to learn what it takes to lead people and succeed. Also, we’re not always fortunate to have had experience while working and being led by managers who knew what they were doing. Also, it’s possible that you’ve picked up some bad ideas along the way.

Sometimes we can observe people in our organization who lead by example and get excellent results within their team. Other times, we can look outside of the company for inspiration from titans of industry and read books covering the topic of management and training leaders. However, this still leaves gaps in the knowledge and a lack of practical experience.

Bridging the Gap from Basic Understanding to a Clearer One

Whatever industry and culture the company has, learning some best practices about leadership goes a long way. You will also have a natural style with people you manage – even if you’re not aware of it yet – and this can be smoothed out and expanded upon. If there’s a crisis in confidence where the company has sought to elevate your position, but it’s rocketed ahead of your own self-confidence, then this should be addressed otherwise you won’t have the courage of your beliefs.

One of the best ways to get over any of these issues is to seek leadership training in Chicago. In fact, there are many different courses on leadership at prestigious colleges and teaching institutions with a focus on developing the next generation of business leaders. Looking at leadership training on, it’s possible to find many suitable courses. Each one covers the subject matter from a different perspective, with a short or long duration, and some build on previous courses running in a series. Choosing the right course is essential to getting the most out of the learning experience and developing the core skills that might currently be absent or not robust enough yet.

Asking for Help When Needing It

There’s no point finding yourself floundering when promoted into a position where you’re managing others. Whether you choose to take a course privately on your own dime or the company is offering to pay the course fees for new managers to help them ease into their role, doing something to go beyond your natural ability to manage and lead others stretches you out of your comfort zone. It’s a little uncomfortable at first, but the rewards are worth it in the end.

Leadership happens at almost every level in an organization because it’s necessary. In the absence of a busy CEO, the hierarchical structure of most companies exists to provide proper structure and discipline for how the organization functions. Quality systems clearly play an important role, but when there’s no managerial oversight or inspirational guidance occasionally to steer inexperienced staff in the right direction, the organization can quickly falter. Leadership matters.


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