Keeping a long-term leader at the top of his or her game

An interesting article appeared in the press recently discussing how a number of leaders of organisations, who have been in charge for many years, leave and others find a range of significant problems left behind.

“Quitting while ahead is the best management attribute of all”, concluded the article, but the real issue is how a leader, particularly one who has been in charge for a long time, does not become isolated or remote from issues which can bite back after the leader leaves.

Self-assessment or 360 degree tools, combined with coaching, can provide insights for a leader into how open or receptive they might be to others’ views and inputs. The messages may not be palatable to the leader, but are necessary hearing.

For any leader, particularly a long-term leader, alertness towards opportunities not being seized, or unnecessary risks being taken, or towards threats ahead on the corporate horizon, is critical.

A strong leader recognises others’ expertise, and motivates and encourages others with expertise that they might lack. A strong leader encourages a diverse team, with different perspectives and skills, but a shared agenda and drive towards organisational success.

And all leaders need to be aware of the ‘game-changing’ shifts that can befall their businesses – the spectacular fall of Blackberry in just a few years in the wake of Apple’s technological breakthroughs with the iPhone is a salutary lesson to us all.