Leadership qualities are vital to the running of a successful business. The ability to maximise the potential of employees is invaluable and organisations always look for managers with the "IT factor" to motivate workers.

However, a recent study from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) has suggested that inflexible organisational hierarchies are one of the primary barriers to improving management and leadership skills. It found that leadership development often relies on increasing the capabilities of existing leaders and managers. According to the research, outdated organisational structures and cultures often prevent would-be leaders from introducing techniques from the training room into the office.

The CIPD's tips to better leadership

The CIPD has recommended finding the particular type of leadership an organisation needs and identifying whether their structure will facilitate it. It has outlined three primary recommendations to assist businesses.

Firstly, organisations should define the type of leadership and management necessary and ensure adequate training is put in place. This approach will help to guarantee workers grow into their role and pick up priceless advice from more experienced personnel.

Secondly, the CIPD believes training needs to be aligned with the overall needs of an organisation. HR should talk to staff about learning requirements and answer any questions. By adopting this method, communication within the organisation will improve. The CIPD's advice is key when it comes to providing staff with feedback and guidance to boost their development and confidence.

Finally, the CIPD recommended that HR should identify and influence key players with the authority to change the status quo. As well as implementing formal processes, employees must also understand where individuals are demonstrating leadership behaviours.

Where should I start?

Routine provides comfort to many organisations, many of whom live by the mantra: "if it isn't broke, don't fix it".

Unfortunately, this can end up being a monumental mistake. The key to changing processes is communication. Before making any plans, speak to your staff and learn what their hopes and concerns are. Do they like the current structure? Do they agree with these proposed changes? What would they do differently?

This process is absolutely pivotal. Making widespread changes to their work without consulting them could have a devastating effect on engagement. Prevent this from happening by interacting with them from the planning phase all the way through to execution.

As well as this, these kinds of talks can often uncover leadership qualities. Some of the best ideas for your business may come from personnel who are low down on the hierarchy. By involving them from the first phase, organisations may be able to tap into previously undiscovered potential.

What are the benefits?

A more flexible organisational structure could be the key to improved employee engagement and an increase in productivity.

If staff realise there is nothing holding them back from progressing in their company, they could potentially become more ambitious and motivated. Acknowledgement from senior members of staff outside of their department could act as the key incentive for better performance.

With this in mind, a more flexible hierarchy could help managers find new leaders for now and the future.