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How a continuous improvement leader can stay relevant in a maturing organisation

How a continuous improvement leader can stay relevant in a maturing organisation

Much like a product life cycle, a continuous improvement leader’s life cycle may start small, grow as the leader becomes more aligned with the organisation’s mission, and then subside somewhat  as performance improvement matures.  As leadership positions grow and evolve, leaders need to remain relevant to their organisations. They are required to change, minimise their weaknesses, and create or accept new leadership projects with the goal of sustained continuous improvement.

Following are five steps that could help you grow alongside your organisation’s maturing performance improvement practices:

1. Develop formal and informal leadership authority

A leader’s formal authority is usually proportionate to the formal responsibilities entrusted to him or her. In contrast, informal authority is accorded to the leader at a personal level, with personal loyalty and trust extended on a person-by-person basis. While informal authority develops outside an organisation’s formal structure, it generally remains visible to the executive leadership. Growing informal authority can help develop the opportunity for additional formal authority. A growing track record of success, experience and training thus becomes the basis for the leader’s expected performance.

2. Maintain a strong awareness of self

Without self-knowledge there can be no real development in the leadership space. It’s simply not possible to progress as a leader if you’re not aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and the impact your behaviour has on others. Emotional intelligence is an indicator of the understanding of self and of your maturity as a leader. To help develop self-knowledge, answer the following questions:

  • What are your professional interests?
  • What motivates you when carrying out your work tasks?
  • What topics do you want to learn more about?
  • To what extent does your enthusiasm drive project execution?

Then build your experience with leadership training, mentoring and self-evaluation in order to become more effective and versatile in continuously changing circumstances.

3. Expand and practise your skills

A good leader builds a broad foundation of skills from a range of experiences. All such experiences will deliver leadership practice. Improving on soft skills such as adaptability, decision-making and communication are pivotal for leadership development. The upsurge in using social media as a business tool also means that you’ll have to constantly tweak your techniques. By staying ahead of emerging trends, your peers in your organisation will see you as a cutting-edge leader.

DOWNLOAD the Interpersonal Skills for Team Leaders Infographic Pack to help you build a repertoire of skills that drive performance.

4. Recognise opportunity life cycles

A good continuous improvement leader becomes skilled at sensing which opportunities to take and which to pass on. No one leader has all the experience and all the capability required, and leadership opportunities can change with shifting organisational objectives. A leader must recognise this and find new needs and opportunities. This process ensures a leader does not stagnate or impede another leader who might be a better fit for a particular operational challenge.

5. Consolidate team empowerment

In a mature organisation, the role of the leader is to support employees and teams to develop their own learning, and to promote their general self-empowerment so that they are increasingly able to make decisions around their work.

The role of the leader will therefore be that of a ‘guider and gardener’ where employees are provided with the direction and given the space to work out the best route. With this goes the promotion of innovation at all levels and creating a climate where experimentation is genuinely allowed. Empowered employees are a resource for gathering information and providing performance-based feedback. They have examples to emulate and personal knowledge bases. They are sources of inspiration. Add value to their roles and gain value from them in return.

WATCH this video to understand the pivotal role leaders play in empowering their people and engaging them in the meaningful work of building strategy and ensuring excellence.

By taking your leadership development into your own hands, becoming the leader you want to be is within your grasp. But just like the continuous improvement journey itself, the development of a repertoire of leadership skills is a gradual, continuous process.


The TRACC framework helps organisations build standardised and integrated good practice and performance capacity across their Plan, Source, Make and Deliver functions. Simultaneously it accelerates their collaboration and alignment capacity to build world class end-to-end value chains, enabling the organisation itself to become the ultimate source of sustainable competitive advantage.
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