How does leadership development impact your business?
It has become increasingly clear that effective leadership is on the decline. Having a well-developed leadership team is the difference between a successful business and a disastrous one.
Several recent studies have shown this is true. For example, struggles have been found in three levels of effective leadership: strategy, productivity, and employee engagement.
In a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, 95 percent of employees within mid-sized to large companies, cannot name the company strategy. In these cases, leadership teams are not effectively conveying strategy to their employees.
Moreover, management often costs a company thousands of dollars and upwards in ineffectual time management. Oftentimes this is in the form of communication mishaps and employee conflict resolution.
Instead of having the ability to remediate situations proactively, managers are operating in fix-it mode, leading to lower productivity and, consequently, lower employee engagement.
So how can we stop this lack of leadership know-how? How can we enliven our teams and get them to work not only for our companies but with them?
The answer lies in leadership development and how we teach our leaders to lead.
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Knowing Where We’ve Been
To change leadership for the better, we must first understand what brought us to this place. Research suggests that the number one reason leadership is failing is training and development.
Companies need to take a bigger part and invest in leadership development. Why? When we ignore the development of effective leadership skills, we get faulty leaders. This has a trickle-down effect in the workplace.
The average age people take on leadership positions is 30, but the average age people receive leadership training is 42. We are allowing managers ten-plus years without adequate leadership development instruction—just enough time to create habits that are hard to undo.
Knowing Where We’re Going
We need to recognize what hasn’t worked and offer doable strategies and solutions to move forward. I have worked with leaders/managers for over two decades, assisting in them becoming thriving and high-impact team members. This has given me a unique view of what solutions we can employ.
For leadership development to be successful, we need to know how people learn and create behaviour change. Here’s what I’ve found works in introducing leadership development:
People learn well in groups. We should honor this and offer connection during our learning
People need resources and content that is specific to their needs and goals.
People need to be met where they are. Overwhelming leaders with new tactics and strategies when they’re already drowning in “trying new things” isn’t exactly helpful.
Finally, strip away the unnecessary. People need actionable, practical solutions for their daily work.
Ensuring these needs are met before your leadership development begins is a sure-fire way to get your leaders engaged and feeling supported.
Leadership Development Solutions and Strategies
So what makes a strong leadership development solution? How can we ensure we optimize our manager’s time and productivity through these development training sessions? The answer is in understanding four critical areas:
#1 Starting with care and respect
This is the foundation on which you should base all your leadership development plans. If no one cares or respects each other, how do you expect to develop that intrinsic motivation to do better for your company?
#2 Focusing on soft skills
Soft skills often get a bad wrap as not useful enough to spend time training on. In reality, it is the opposite. Leadership development should center mostly around how a manager communicates with direct reports. Do they recognize them? Understand their strengths and stretches? Set goals with them and follow up? These are all skills that need to be learned just as much as hard skills.
#3 Designing around time and stress
The best leadership learning happens over time and in small chunks. Most managers would become annoyed being bombarded with information in a three-day intensive setting. Leadership development should happen gradually, allowing leaders to practice skills in between and lower stress levels.
#4 Be data-driven
Tracking and utilizing data is a huge asset to a company. If you have data showing how your leaders are effective in certain areas, use that to guide your leadership development. This ensures you optimize what you need from your development services, and your managers will be more effective as a result.
Bringing it Together
Together, we can ensure leadership development stays a top priority. There is a clear problem and an effective way to solve it. The more we communicate about it, the stronger we’ll be.