Effective leadership – create effective leaders with clear leadership principles

Effective leadership is about behaviour.

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Torben Nørby

Torben Nørby

CEO and Co-Founder


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Effective leadership is about behaviour. If your company has identified changed leadership behaviour as a way to achieve business objectives, you just need to get started on the behaviour change…

… The challenge is that for your business to evolve in line with your strategy and realise business potential through leadership development, the behavioural change must be built on a solid foundation. This is where the company’s leadership principles come to play.

Effective leaders navigate by management principles

If your company is to fulfil its potential through leadership development, you need to be able to implement effective leadership. This can be done by defining some management principles that the management team can navigate.

In People & Performance, when we talk about leadership principles, we mean articulated expectations for leadership behaviours that create effective leaders and ensure business performance, strategy execution, goal achievement and similar business-critical metrics.

In general, we encounter two different realities when we engage with companies: there are those who have defined a set of management principles, and then there are those who have not. The former have a good starting point to lead effectively, while the latter have a challenge:

Because how can you influence leadership behaviour in your company if you have not clearly defined what you expect from your leaders?

Effective management requires measurable management principles

If your company does not have the management principles or framework in place, it can be done with the help of consultancies like People & Performance. But even if the principles are already being actively used to some extent, it may be a good idea to give them a review and make sure they are actually designed to serve the right purpose. Indeed, if your management is to be effective, your management principles need to be measurable.

Make your management principles measurable

A number of issues need to be in place if the management principles are to provide a useful basis for developing leaders’ behaviour. These include:

They must be anchored in the company's strategy

They must describe the main behaviour to realise the strategy

They must be concrete and describe behaviour in an active way

They must be useful and easy to understand

They must be measurable

The list is not exhaustive but gives an indication that the management principles can be applied to a tool – a 360-degree measurement – where the different parameters become operationalisable. Thus, the principles can be used by leaders to identify and understand their own management behaviour. This enables individual leaders to work in a structured way towards more effective management and to ensure their own development.

Effective leadership is about getting everyone on board

There can be many reasons for companies to set a new strategic direction – market shifts, changes in key people in the company or similar. But to achieve the company’s objectives, strategic changes and changes in management behaviour are not enough in themselves. Effective leadership is about getting everyone in the company to play on the same team.

To achieve success with change in the company, it is crucial that strategic change is “carried through” to the rest of the organisation. An effective leader must be able to get the rest of the organisation to shift gears too, so that the body does not get torn apart.

If there are fundamental strategic changes, the governance principles should be revisited. Otherwise, there is an imminent risk that you will develop or maintain leadership behaviours that do not fit the new reality.

The behaviour of an effective leader must fit the context

When developing management principles, it is crucial to ensure that they support the company’s strategy and business objectives. This requires that management behaviour is aligned. Leaders must be able to lead effectively and in a way that fits the context in which they operate. If this is not the case, you will face challenges in achieving your goals.

It is not given that a company has a set of defined management principles. If your company is in this situation today, you have two options:

Do the work yourself. If you are a company of a certain size and have a large HR department, this solution will often be an option.

Buy assistance from a consultancy. This will often be preferable if there is already pressure on internal resources.

Get help to become an effective leader

At People & Performance, all our consultants have extensive experience in both the development and implementation of management principles. We can help you conduct leadership measurement to ensure that leadership behaviours fit the context and that your leaders become effective leaders.


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