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Setting your leaders up for success

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read
Setting your leaders up for success

Leadership is high pressure in any business environment. Organisations expect results from their leaders at every turn – from people management to decision making and more.

But how do you get more out of your leaders and better business results?

Sometimes, it seems easier to focus on problems and inadequacies in individuals. But to find a solution, let’s look at leadership and how HR can help to set their leaders up for success.


Preparation and training

Many leaders receive little in the way of formal training in "leadership" practices prior to becoming a leader. And once they’re in the role… “training? Pfft, what’s that?!”

Leadership training often isn’t on the radar for small to mid-sized organisations, and even large organisations with great programmes sometimes miss the mark.

So how do you give your leaders the skills they need to not only do their job, but achieve real leadership success?

Coaching skills

Coaching is essential for all leaders. Without leaders who can spend time with their team members working on strengths and weaknesses, and ironing out problems, a workforce is weak.

As part of their leadership preparation, a leader needs to learn the skills required to effectively coach, and avoid micromanaging, their team.

Investing in developing leaders to professional coaching standards is valuable. Results should be reflected in employee engagement, better performance and overall higher productivity.

Focus time

One of the greatest enablers of leadership is giving a leader the time to manage, lead, train and coach their teams.

It’s all well and good to give managers the training required to lead their team, but one of the biggest impacts for any leader is time – and there’s never enough!

Some leaders are expected to deliver against a demanding personal task list and lead a team at the same time. Many are caught up preparing reports and data for senior stakeholders up the stream, so they don’t have time to focus on their team.

Leaders across a business are often under immense pressure to perform and deliver with very little time for strategy and planning. Reacting to meet market and business requirements, leaves little time for “working” with their team.

There are plenty of motivated leaders who want to improve team practices and outcomes, but consistently get caught up in the day-to-day grind in the work environment. HR can work with leaders to ensure they have space to focus on leading their teams so they can yield leadership results.

A leader’s role

The primary role of a leader is to lead a group of people, preparing and supporting them with the demands of their role, and encouraging them to be productive, innovative and engaged.

Focusing, empowering, motivating and improving the performance of the team are key to any leadership role. By providing resources and direction, a leader is responsible for ensuring their team acts in the best interests of the company in the market.

They have a mandate to protect the reputation of the brand whilst meeting business targets appropriate to their department.

This means leaders need to be smart, efficient and well prepared; allow time to plan and strategise; ensure they have the right people doing the right thing – and that their teams are well trained, highly motivated and focused.



Coaching differs from training in that it frequently focuses on a narrower range of abilities or jobs. This might be done as a part of personnel upskilling or performance management. Both internal trainers and outside coaches may carry out this task. Coaching occasionally includes assessments and performance feedback.


Training is the process of enhancing a worker's knowledge and abilities to do a certain profession. It aims to enhance trainees' work behaviour and performance on the job.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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