What Is the Leadership Process and Why Is It Important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are many theories about leadership styles and the process of becoming a leader. A thorough understanding of the leadership process is important for anyone wanting to become a successful leader. Learning more about this process may help you determine the leadership style that best suits your personality and skill set. In this article, we define the leadership process, explain the concept and how it works and discuss why it's important.

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What is the leadership process?

If you're hoping to work in a management role, you may wish to learn more about the leadership process. The leadership process involves leaders and their team members working together to achieve goals. These may be personal, professional, team or company goals. By collaborating to achieve shared goals, leaders and team members create a bond that enhances their ability to work cohesively.

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What is the concept of leadership?

The concept of leadership involves a leader and a follower. The leader typically strategises, plans and leads others to achieve shared goals. They may lead by directing and guiding their team members or demonstrating the behaviours they wish their team to follow. A follower doesn't strategise as a leader does but instead follows directions and guidelines. A follower may become a leader over time as they learn more about how to lead and receive greater responsibilities.

Related: What Is Leadership? (With Key Elements of Leadership)

How does the leadership process work?

The leadership process begins from the moment a staff member joins an organisation. If you join the organisation in an entry-level role, it's likely that you're a follower. You may have mentors or colleagues to lead you in your daily tasks and responsibilities. These individuals may teach you how to excel at work. In turn, your mentors and supervisors may have their own superiors who monitor their work and provide constructive feedback.

One example of the leadership process at work is the feedback process within an organisation. Many companies organise performance reviews for their staff members on an annual or bi-annual basis. Staff members may set professional goals at the beginning of the year and work towards those goals throughout the year. At the mid-year point, they may have discussions with their leaders on the progress of these goals to indicate that they have improved over time. At the end of the year, leaders may review the progress of their team to determine salary increases, bonuses and other benefits.

Related: Career Goals: How To Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

Why is the leadership process important?

Many companies and individuals adopt the leadership process for various reasons. Some may find the structure helpful in nurturing and developing new leaders. Others may find that the leadership process provides hierarchy within the company, which helps it to run smoothly. It's helpful to learn more about why others adopt the leadership process so that you can consider its advantages. Here are some benefits the leadership process can offer:

Helping to nurture new leaders

The leadership process provides a good structure for finding and training new leaders. By having a clear leader, the followers have a role model from which they can learn and grow their leadership skills. For example, followers can note how their leaders communicate with other department heads to negotiate a deal. They can also learn how their leaders utilise various leadership styles, such as democratic leadership and inclusive leadership, to optimise their working relationships with others. Through this, followers emulate a good example and develop their own leadership potential.

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Providing a hierarchy for smooth decision making

With a hierarchy in place, a company may run more effectively since it's clear who's responsible for making decisions. Staff members know that they defer to the opinions and decisions of the management team and do their best to support the company's goals. Clear distinctions between leaders and followers make it easier for a company to make business decisions regarding growth and development. Staff members who receive clear direction are more likely to feel confident and remain with the company.

Related: Decision-Making Skills: Definition and Examples for Leaders

Helping staff members feel that they matter

With a proper leadership process in place, there may be good feedback channels within the company for staff members to voice their opinions. For instance, staff members may want to celebrate achievements or share suggestions for improvement with other departments in the company. With a proper process to escalate these opinions, a staff member may feel that their opinion matters within the company, which can improve their sense of loyalty.

Helping staff members to feel that they matter is important for retaining talent within the organisation. It's also particularly important for younger staff members as they're usually relatively new to the workforce, so having appropriate channels for giving feedback and suggestions can help to build their confidence. When staff members feel like they matter, they may work harder for the company to produce good results. This benefits the team's morale, which helps them to achieve goals. When the company is achieving its targets, the staff members may also benefit from bonuses or salary increases.

Related: What Is Transformational Leadership and Why Is It Effective?

Shaping organisational culture

The leadership process helps to shape an organisation's culture. Leaders at the top of the hierarchy can demonstrate good behaviour to inspire and motivate their staff members. For example, a leader who supports team members and works hard could be a role model for newer staff members to emulate. They may also adopt a hardworking mentality and work to exceed workplace expectations. Over time, the company may build a culture of being hardworking, supportive, trusting and efficient.

With good organisational culture, a company may also be able to attract good talent. Many candidates examine a company's culture to decide if they're likely to fit in with the team. Building a company reputation that indicates a healthy organisational culture could be a factor that talented candidates consider when applying for a role. In a competitive job market, good company culture could be a very valuable asset for the hiring managers of a company.

Related: What Is Organisational Leadership? (Benefits and Components)

Building strong teams

A company tends to have strong teams when it has robust leadership processes in place. This is because the leaders are aware of how to foster relationships between the team members by organising bonding sessions, work getaways and an open culture for the flow of ideas. With an environment in which employees feel safe, the team may be more willing to work together. They can direct their energy and thoughts into producing strong results for the company. A positive cycle may arise when a strong team produces results, which motivates them to produce greater results and so on.

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Tips to develop the leadership process

Here are some tips that you can use to develop the leadership process within a company:

  • Talk to leadership experts. One good way to learn more about the leadership process is to talk to experts who have subject matter expertise and are able to advise you on what to do and what to avoid when you want to lead others. You may attend seminars, conferences and training programmes to gain valuable advice and tips from these experts.

  • Practise leadership skills. It's important to practise good leadership skills, such as active communication, active leadership, time management, communication and crisis management. With a mixture of soft and hard skills, you may demonstrate yourself as a competent and trustworthy leader to slowly build up your team of followers.

  • Do your research. Constantly research new leadership methods, leadership styles and leadership theories to become a better leader. There are many resources, online or otherwise, which can teach you more about the leadership process and techniques to improve your leadership skills.

Related: How to Improve Leadership Skills: Guideline and Tips

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