Organizations today face many challenges ranging from globalization to disruptive technological change, but their leadership is often unprepared to handle them. Senior managers may be reluctant to undertake leadership development programs for fear they won’t deliver desired outcomes. Look for the following areas of focus in your leadership development program to insure success.
Context is a critical component of successful leadership development. A brilliant leader in one situation may not perform well in another. A CEO may have an outstanding record when markets were growing but may be unable to provide clear direction during an economic downturn. Hence it is important to tailor leadership training initiatives for each individual and their experience, strengths and weaknesses. It means equipping leaders with competencies that will make a significant difference to each leader’s performance.
There is value in off-site programs that offer participants time to remove themselves from everyday demands of their jobs. However, tying leadership development to real on-the -job projects that have real business impact and enhance learning has exceptional value. It makes it possible to improve personal development, incorporate project goals and deliver on those objectives.
Address Underlying Causes
Becoming a more effective leader requires, among other things, changing behaviors. This means adjusting underlying mind-sets and addressing the root causes of why leaders act the way they do. This may be uncomfortable for participants and those with whom they work, but it is necessary for change. Leaders who work to change underlying causes are more successful at changing behaviors.
The importance of developing leadership skills is often dismissed because there is no way to quantify the value of the investment. To be able to determine its impact requires measurement of changes in leadership and company performance over time. One approach is to access the extent of behavioral changes periodically e.g. at the outset of the program, at 6 months, at 12 months, etc. Another approach is to monitor participants’ career development such as appointments to more senior roles in a year or 2 years afterward. A third approach is to monitor business impact in cost savings, revenue growth, etc.
Leadership development can be successful for both the individual and the company if the program is tailored to the individual leadership skills and traits, by embedding the leadership development program in real work, by uncovering mind-sets that drive behaviors and by measuring the impact over time.
If your company can benefit from an effective leadership development program, contact us or find out more.