Developing Effective Leadership Within Your Organization

Written by Cherie McLaughlin.  She be reached at:  

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Your organization is only as strong as its leaders. So why does your company keep hiring leaders rather than developing them from within? While external leadership hires can be the right choice in some situations, like when your business needs a fresh perspective, most companies find they get better results when they make leaders, not hire them.

What Makes Effective Leaders?

Effective leaders know how to get things done. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re do-ers. Rather, effective leaders possess a set of soft skills that make them natural managers, decisive problem-solvers, and excellent communicators. When companies put the right person in a leadership role, people naturally gravitate toward them and want to work together toward their vision.

Unfortunately, these are exactly the kinds of traits that are hard to quantify in an interview. Perhaps that’s the reason management hires fall short 82% of the time, according to Gallup.

Instead of playing roulette with leadership hires, organizations should develop leaders from within.

Good Leadership Matters at Every Level

Innate ability matters in leadership, but it’s not everything. While one in 10 people possess the natural talent to manage, another two in 10 have the ability to excel in leadership roles when given the right support.

When companies develop internal leaders, they have the opportunity to identify those employees and mold them into future leaders. By starting leadership development early, companies not only cultivate well-rounded leaders, but they also ensure that employees have strong management at every level of the business.

When companies have good leadership at every level, they also benefit from:

Remember that your best leaders aren’t necessarily your highest performers. As the Harvard Business Review explains, “The performance level of individual contributors is measured largely through their ability, likability, and drive. Leadership, by contrast, demands a broader range of character traits.”

Qualities to Look for in Leadership Hires

Whether you’re promoting from within or making an external hire, there are certain qualities a leadership hire needs to have:


There’s no question that charisma is important for leaders. Without charisma, leaders struggle to get teams behind them. However, charisma without authenticity is just as bad — if not worse. Authentic leaders make people want to follow them, whereas a lack of authenticity sows distrust.

Decision-making ability

Strong leaders know how to take action despite risks. That’s not to say they rush into situations blind. Rather, good leaders know how to make the most of the information they have without getting paralyzed by analysis.

Communication skills

69% of managers feel uncomfortable communicating with employees, according to research. That’s unacceptable in a role where communicating goals and directions is a primary responsibility. Strong leaders should have emotional intelligence and cultural competency in addition to basic communication skills.

A sense of service

Good leaders aren’t driven by personal accomplishment. Rather, they’re invested in the success of their team as a whole.

Developing Leaders in Your Organization

Here’s how your organization can commit to developing leaders from within.

  • Identify prospective leaders early. Cultivating leadership at lower levels builds a strong business from the ground up.
  • Invest in leadership training. The soft skills that make good leaders are the hardest to train for, but they’re also the most important. In manufacturing, customized continuous improvement training programs and coaching can help leaders make positive process improvements. For other industries, existing leadership may consider encouraging and incentivizing employees to seek higher education in fields such as business administration at online universities.
  • Create mentorship relationships. Pair employees with existing leaders within your organization to help them develop the skills needed to move into leadership roles.
  • Be the leader you want to see. Company culture starts at the top. In order to cultivate great leaders, executive leadership needs to display the leadership behaviors they want from others.

The best leaders are made, not hired. Instead of looking outside to solve your company’s leadership gaps, focus on cultivating leadership skills from within. Not only will you improve leadership at the top of your organization, but by developing leadership from the bottom-up, you’ll strengthen your organization at every level.

Image via Unsplash


10 Simple Rules for Effective Email


Rule 1 Is this email necessary?
If the answer requires discussion then pick up the phone or get up from your desk.  
Don’t have more than 2 cycles of back and forth between people.
If the issue is not resolved, get up and have a conversation.

                               10 Simple Rules for Holding Lean Meetings


Try these tips to make your meetings more effective:

Rule 1 Is this meeting really necessary?
Avoid the meeting that could have been an email.  Limit update meetings - there are better ways to keep people informed, like using quad charts.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Course Details

Participants will learn to understand and combat variation in everyday processes following the DMAIC methodology.  They will learn project management tools to:

 Define  goals and scope of the project
 Measure  data to describe the problem faced
 Analyze  the data to drive to root cause
 Improve  the situation through use of Lean tools
 Control  the gains generated through the project

Note:  Some details of key tools used by phase below

Typically the ROI of the training project exceeds the course fees several times over - many projects can return $30-50K of savings. We guarantee a positive ROI in savings as well as developing your people to achieve a higher level of performance. This course is recommended for staff in production, engineering, finance, project management, administration, and others atl levels, and others who want to make a measurable difference in the ongoing growth of the company.

Click here to access the October 2021 welcome letter.

If no classes are currently scheduled you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to indicate your interest with no obligation. You do not need to pay to be on the waiting list - it just shows your interest in finding out when the next class will be held

October 2021 Schedule of classes
Note:  Coaching sessions require only 1.5 hours per project team during each session - NOT the entire time scheduled 

Session 1

Oct 6-7

2 days

GB Days 1-2 – Define

Project Selection.  Creating a project charter.  Basic Statistics.  Next Steps

Coaching 1

Oct 14

1.5 hours perproject team

Coaching 1 – How Do I Start My Project?

Session 2

Oct 27-28

2 days

GB Days 3-4 – Measure

SIPOC and mind mapping.  Process mapping.  Graphical methods of data analysis

Session 3

Nov 17-18

2 days

GB Days 5-6 – Measure and Analyze

Operational Definitions. Teaming. Managing Change. Attribute MSA and Variable MSA. Process Capability.

Coaching 2

Dec 1

1.5 hours per project team

Coaching 2 – I’ve Got Data, Now What?

Session 4

Dec 8-9

2 days

GB Days 7-8 – Analyze and Improve

Root Cause Analysis.  Lean Overview.  5S. Value of Speed.  Lean Daily Management.

Session 5

Jan 6-7

2 days

GB Days 9-10 – Improve and Control

TPM and OEE.  Kaizen.  SPC.  Implementing solutions.  Control Plans

Coaching 3

Jan 12

1.5 hours per project team

Coaching 3 – How Do I Close My Project?


Jan 19, 2022

½ day

Final report-out to leadership

20-30 minute presentation to leaders on project and results.

Cost :
$3,650 per person.  Including all items except software.  10% discount for 3 or more people from the same company
Items included in the course:
Project coaching throughout
All templates and files used in the training
Electronic copies of all slides used in the course
Hands-on exercises
Statistical software
Kit for collecting data and understanding variation (for participants to keep)
Software Options: 
QI Macros for Excel $249 for perpetual license single copy.  Discounts for multiple copies.
Minitab options available.  Call for details
Note:  Both QI Macros and Minitab supported in class
More info:
This course  uses an Excel add-in (QI Macros) or Minitab.  Course location will be rotated among participant sites, as appropriate. This enables all to experience several different plant environments and to get a better feel for other projects in the class. See the FAQ for more information, which you can access by clicking here.  You can access the welcome letter for the January 2020 class by clicking here. If you cannot access Google Drive then please let us know and we can send out the letter directly.
Key DMAIC tools used in the course include:
Definition Tools for Projects  Problem Statement and Objective; SIPOC
 Measure Tools  Measurement Systems Analysis (Gage R&R); Baseline Process Capability; Value Stream Mapping
 Analyze Tools  Root Cause Analysis – Fishbone Diagrams; Graphical Analysis of Data; Basic Statistics
 Improve Tools  Lean tools including 5S, Standard Work, Cellular Flow, TPM, Setup Reduction, Piloting Solutions
 Control Tools  Control Plans; Audits