A True Leader's Job: Guiding the Future and Empowering the Team

2023.11.27 10:17 AM By Joshua Taddeo, Principal Consultant
effective leadership

Leadership has taken on a new paradigm in today's rapidly evolving work environment. Simply delegating work and directing how individuals should do that work is no longer functional for modern leadership. The pace of change is too quick, and the complexity of interlaced workflows between groups makes it difficult for higher-level leadership to make decisions for roles on each team. Instead, modern leadership is all about resourcing and enabling team members to determine the best ways to achieve the goals set by leadership based on the vision for the company. In this article, we will explore the core responsibilities of a true leader in the contemporary landscape, including:

  • Setting a vision.

  • Defining goals.

  • Attracting and hiring talent.

  • Fostering collaboration.

  • Empowering and resourcing teams to execute their work autonomously.

Setting a Vision and Goals  

A key responsibility of leaders is to provide a clear and compelling vision for the future. A well-defined vision is a guiding star, motivating and inspiring team members. Moreover, leaders must set goals that align with this vision. These goals become the driving force behind a team's efforts, ensuring that everyone is working towards a common objective. Employees are more likely to feel part of a cohesive unit than isolated individuals when they comprehend how their work directly supports the organization's primary goals. This interconnectedness fosters collaboration, where teams unite in pursuit of common objectives.


In achieving goal alignment across your organization, several key steps are essential:

1. Set clear organizational goals:

Begin at the top, with leadership charting the course. Align your leadership team around a well-defined company vision and strategy, then identify specific, targeted goals encompassing this vision. Clarity in your goals empowers others to understand and rally around the shared purpose.

2. Get buy-in from leadership: 

Share these organizational goals with senior and middle managers. Encourage their input and address any questions or concerns they may have. Their buy-in is vital for effectively disseminating and adopting these goals.

3. Communicate goals on every level:

Effective and consistent communication is the linchpin of goal alignment. Ensure that all employees, from top to bottom, are well-informed about the company's goals. Embed goals in regular leadership and team meetings, one-on-one discussions, and performance reviews to keep them in mind.

4. Help employees achieve their goals: 

Support them in their quest to achieve aligned goals by providing the necessary resources, training, feedback, and coaching. Doing so empowers them to understand their role within the organization and engage wholeheartedly in their work.

Attracting and Hiring the Right Talent  

One of the most essential jobs for a leader is building a great team. It's not just about finding people with the right skills; it's also about inspiring potential team members by sharing and being an example of the organization's values and culture. If you don't hire people aligned with the organization's vision, it can alter the team's dynamics and slow down progress. Leaders must be mindful of the overall fit for the team and the organization. When there's an issue, always remember to work with the individual to identify the root cause of the problem for potential solutions. 

Finding and hiring the right talent takes a lot of work. It's often easier to retain employees by listening and implementing an environment where they can excel than starting from scratch with the unknown factors in a new hire. If their requests are realistic, those disengaged employees are often the best ones to learn from regarding improving the day-to-day experience of the team. Those internal improvements often result in better experiences for your customers. 


Let's look at how organizations can attract and hire the best talent. It's more complex than putting out a job ad now. There's a lot more to it. Companies must actively go after suitable candidates, spread the word about job openings, and use their marketing skills to stand out in a job market with many great opportunities.


Here are some critical steps to transform the hiring process and make sure you get the best talent:
business leadership

Create a Talent Pipeline 

If you're looking to attract the best talent, consider the people actively job-seeking as well as those who might be open to the idea or a new role at an inspiring organization. You can build relationships with these "passive" candidates by understanding their career goals and showing them how your organization can help them grow. This way, you keep them interested in your company and informed about new job opportunities. 

Ensure your talent acquisition team maintains a connection to individuals who applied, including keeping a database categorized by skill sets so they can reach out when new job openings align with their tracked talents. There's nothing worse for an organization than wasting time starting over when you could have pulled from an existing database of potential candidates. Consider your talent pipeline as crucial as your marketing and sales pipelines, and you'll always be able to build the best teams.

Effective Job Descriptions 

To attract the best talent, you must start with a great hiring experience, including clear and intriguing job descriptions. Think of a job description as your first impression of potential candidates. It should highlight what makes your company unique, including training, development opportunities, and well-being programs. The more you show people how they can thrive in your company, the more interested they'll become.

Advertise What Makes You Unique 

You might know your company is great, but more is needed to attract the best talent. To stand out, you need to highlight what makes your culture unique. One of the best ways to do this is to share your employees' thoughts. Their words can show job candidates what working in your organization is like. People look for different things in a job – pay and benefits, learning opportunities, work/life balance, or feeling challenged by the work. Knowing and promoting your organization's strengths makes it easier to attract top talent.

Use Your Internal Team 

Engaged and happy employees can advocate for your company. You can feature their testimonials on your careers page, job listings, and social media to show your company has a strong culture and values. Employee referral programs, where your employees refer potential candidates, are also a great way to find talent. Smart hiring is about building a team of skilled and like-minded individuals who share the organization's values and goals. It also ensures that individuals who could disrupt team dynamics and progress are omitted, thus safeguarding the team's cohesion and effectiveness.

Fostering Collaboration  

Collaboration is the cornerstone of thriving organizations. Today's leadership has shifted from micromanagement to empowerment, emphasizing cultivating a culture of open communication and collaboration. Encouraging interactions across departments and shared objectives is paramount in creating an environment where innovation flourishes, silos break down, and the entire team harmoniously pursues common objectives.


Start by clearly establishing your core values, making collaboration a fundamental aspect of your organization's culture. Regularly communicate this through various channels, from your company website to discussions during the interview process. By reinforcing the value of collaboration during company town halls, where you can showcase successful collaborative efforts, you emphasize the importance of working together.


Encouraging cross-departmental interactions means promoting communication and collaboration among teams that may have traditionally operated in isolation. When teams from different departments interact, they can share insights, perspectives, and expertise. Thus, this not only enriches the collective knowledge within the organization but also creates a sense of unity. For instance, the marketing team may collaborate with the sales team to better understand customer needs, resulting in more effective marketing campaigns and increased sales.


Also, when objectives are shared, everyone understands how their work contributes to the organization's success. This alignment eliminates conflicting priorities and ensures that every team moves in the same direction. For example, the finance department's objective to reduce operational costs can align with the production department's goal to enhance efficiency, resulting in a cost-effective production process.


Make sure to recognize that each team member brings unique strengths and perspectives. Identify these strengths through self-assessments, feedback from managers and colleagues, and additional assessment tools. As much as possible, empower individuals to capitalize on their strengths by assigning tasks and responsibilities aligned with their abilities. Or if there's no immediate application based on their existing role, make sure they connect their desired skillset with their career path within the organization.
business leader leading the meeting.jpg

Empowering Execution & Resourcing  

The traditional role of leadership has evolved in the modern workplace. Rather than micromanaging every aspect of a team's work, effective leadership now involves providing essential resources and support while granting teams the autonomy to shape their execution strategies. This shift allows teams to have the freedom to make decisions on how best to achieve their goals, fostering creativity, motivation, and engagement.


In this new approach, a leader's primary responsibility is not to make all decisions for their team members but to establish a clear vision, outline goals, attract and select the right talent, and ensure effective collaboration within teams. Leadership should have a limited role in prescribing how the work proceeds; instead, they should depend on the expertise and knowledge of their team members. Presuming that the right individuals are part of the team, those closest to work frequently possess a superior understanding of achieving tasks efficiently and effectively.


Let the operations team collaborate directly with end-users, allowing them to determine the best methods to accomplish and improve their work while aligning with the organization's key performance indicators and goals. This approach not only fosters a sense of ownership and accountability within the team but also leverages the collective intelligence of the team to drive innovation and success.


Consider a scenario where a company is striving to increase its online sales. Instead of the leader dictating a step-by-step process for achieving this goal, they provide the necessary resources – like budget, tools, and training – to the marketing and sales teams, who can better inform the needed strategic and tactical adjustments. The leader also offers support by listening to the teams' ideas and addressing their concerns through supporting collaboration and resourcing the ideas put forth by the team.


Empowering the teams to define their execution strategies allows them to decide how to utilize the resources provided. It might involve creating targeted social media campaigns, optimizing the website for a better user experience, or exploring new partnerships. The teams have the ownership to decide what methods align best with their expertise, key stakeholder needs, and the company's goals.


This approach can lead to innovative solutions and enthusiastic teams that follow guidance toward goals and actively shape their work to ensure they achieve those objectives. When people are trusted to decide how best to achieve their goals, they tend to be more creative, motivated, and engaged, ultimately contributing to the organization's success.

The Learning Leader  

Leaders bear the responsibility of shaping the organizational environment. Encouraging a continuous learning and improvement culture involves creating a workplace where personal and professional growth is welcomed and celebrated. It's about nurturing an ethos where individuals and teams are intrinsically motivated to enhance their skills, explore new horizons, and stay ahead in an ever-evolving world. By promoting this culture, leaders set the stage for enduring success, agility, and innovation.


The learning leader recognizes that their role extends beyond decision-making and oversight. They appreciate their pivotal role in shaping their organization's culture. Leaders invigorate their teams with the same enthusiasm by actively participating in the learning process and showcasing a deep commitment to professional growth. This commitment ensures the team's adaptability in a dynamic world and sets the foundation for a thriving, innovative, and enduring organization.


Many leaders adopt the concept of "Kaizen" in their organization. Kaizen is a concept rooted in the idea that small, incremental changes can lead to significant improvements over time. To implement Kaizen effectively, leaders need to measure the results of their changes. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and data-driven analysis can help determine whether the changes lead to improvements. This data-driven approach ensures that the changes are making a positive impact.


Kaizen should become part of the daily routine. Regular meetings or huddles should focus on discussing ongoing and potential improvements. This routine maintains the focus on continuous improvement.

Measuring Success  

Measuring the success of leadership strategies is a multifaceted task, with various indicators that can help evaluate leadership effectiveness. These measurements go beyond traditional bottom-line figures, offering a holistic view of a leader's impact. For example, you'll want to consider metrics related to: 

Overall Company Performance 

Beyond profit, a leader's success is determined by the overall company performance, encompassing financial indicators, employee and customer satisfaction, community relations, and environmental sustainability. This comprehensive approach reflects the holistic impact of leadership.

managing and finiding talent

Employee Satisfaction 

High employee satisfaction leads to increased productivity and lower turnover rates, making it a valuable metric to gauge leadership effectiveness. Happy employees are more engaged and productive.

Employee Turnover Rates 

While high turnover rates may seem negative, they can indicate a dynamic, growing organization if occurring to align skillsets to the adjusting requirements of the company. Influential leaders provide opportunities for advancement, retaining talent, and fostering innovation to ensure that turnover isn't simply an indication of poor working environments. Keep a close eye on your turnover rate but also, and perhaps more importantly, the reasons why employees are leaving to ensure your company is retaining as much vital talent as possible. 

Organizational Culture and Values 

A leader's impact manifests within the organization's values and culture. Influential leaders align these with the company's mission, guiding decisions and actions. Results and relationships are critical components of leadership effectiveness. Monitoring progress toward goals and the organizational vision ensures that the strategies align with the intended outcomes, allowing leaders to make informed adjustments when necessary.

Nurturing Effective Leaders   

Being a leader within an organization is fundamentally about guiding rather than micromanaging. The core responsibilities encompass setting a compelling vision and goals, attracting and recruiting the right talent, promoting seamless collaboration among teams, and empowering team members to determine the most effective means of achieving those objectives.


In essence, leadership entails placing limited emphasis on defining tasks; instead, it focuses on entrusting the task-performing individuals, provided they were selected wisely, with the autonomy to leverage their expertise for superior results. The operations team should establish direct connections with end-users, collaboratively identifying strategies to accomplish tasks and enhance work processes in alignment with the set KPIs and objectives.


Effective leadership steers and empowers, ultimately empowering individuals and propelling the organization toward success. Taking a step back from the day-to-day work and concentrating on higher-level organizational strategy is a crucial requirement of successful upper management. As a leader of an organization, it's time to trust your teams, focus on aligning work to objectives, attract the right talent, and ensure they have the resources they need to achieve the goals.