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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Despite what you may believe or have been taught in the past, leadership and counselling do mix. This is not to say a leader must be a psychologist with medical diplomas hanging on the wall to be an effective leader. But the combination of leadership and counselling functions is a natural mix because people will often need assistance on the job in order to fulfil their potential and maximise the application of their abilities.

In other words, a leader as counsellor is a change agent who is responsible for helping employees and team members turn abilities into successful actions that benefit staff and company alike. These actions should be company mission focused while promoting employee personal success. This is a key role of a leader and one that is often minimised in the daily rush to get products or services into the marketplace.

Adapting to Change Through Counselling

But studies have shown that companies which train leaders to build company success by developing employee success are more competitive and more adaptive to changing marketplace environments. In difficult economic times, companies that are unable to change as needed to respond to financial pressures or rapidly changing consumer requirements will quickly fade away.

People need help to realize their potential though, and that is where leadership and counselling functions merge. Through administrative training, leaders learn how to counsel employees on a number of levels.

  • Develop employee skills to meet needs of the job
  • Assist with resolution of personal issues within the work environment that impact ability to perform job functions
  • Learn to recognise organisational leadership potential that can be developed
  • Provide on-the-job training to employees that promotes success of the business
  • Match employee skills to the right job or team position
  • Assist employees with development of interpersonal skills
  • Learn to manage difficult employees not performing as expected
  • Identify morale problems impacting project success
  • Learn communication skills so able to teach, train, and monitor employees as needed

As a change agent, leaders must be able to work with a variety of people while assisting them with skills development. In fact, good leaders as counsellors, focus on training employees to become leaders themselves within their abilities. Leadership training covers a range of activities from making good decisions while performing a task to managing a large number of people.

Adapt, Compete and Succeed

Being a counsellor as part of the leadership function, along with the other responsibilities of trainer, corrector and mentor, requires the leader to develop particular skills needed to build a team and keep the team on track. The team may be a project team, a department or even the entire organisation. Every organisation has multiple teams operating at once.

The job of counselling requires being able to consistently and successfully assist others to reach their full potential within their assigned position in a pro-active manner. As a counsellor, the leader will be able to effectively train employees, identify potential leaders, present information, match personal traits to expected organisational roles, and provide useful positive and negative feedback in a way that promotes employee improvement.

Professional leadership training can play a critical role in the ability of the company to develop its human resources to full capability. Since most companies invest heavily in their people, it only makes sense to insure employees are being utilised in the most efficient and effective manner possible. A motivated workforce that has internalised the mission of the organisation is one of the major indications a company is ready to adapt, compete, and succeed.

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