March 2nd, 2012 // 9:51 am @ Coach Lynn
Too often I see organizations schedule a few ad hoc training events and call it “leadership development.” In my opinion it isn’t an effective strategy and can be a big waste of money down the proverbial drain, let alone the negative impact it can have on morale. My preference would be to start with a clear strategic Leadership Competency model and plan for a comprehensive learning and development “system” that will get you the results you want. Sounds big and scary, but just bite it off one step at a time…I’m here to help.
1. Create a Leadership Competency Model that supports your organization’s brand – vision, values, purpose, mission, and customer expectations. This Model provides a comprehensive picture of the expectations you have of a leader in your organization. It also provides a strategic context for the execution of development tactics. Remember to get input from others. The trick is clearly defining what you mean by each competency.
2. Assess the needs of your current leaders against this Model and decide your development priorities. You’ll want everyone to be a top performer at everything. The reality of budgets and resources is you’ll have to achieve this over a longer time period. Decide with whom, with what and when you’ll start.
3. Design a delivery “system” for your development priorities that includes: 1) tactics such as training events, mentoring, coaching, shadowing, higher education coursework, and action learning, 2) milestones for continuous development, 3) feedback processes, and 4) recognizing achievements.
4. Develop a plan for action that includes budgets, timelines and identifies resources needed to execute over the next few years. Identify who will be responsible for managing the plan and reporting on progress.
Every organization with managers can benefit from a well-designed leadership development initiative. By maximizing the effectiveness of your leadership team, your entire workforce will reap the rewards. Here are just a few:
- Reduce turnover of top talent. Avoid the cost of recruiting and training new employees. Good talent is hard to find. Don’t lose it if you’ve got it because of poor leadership.
- Support a trust-based culture. Your organization’s culture starts with leaders who model the way. What you expect of them sends a strong message to all employees.
- Boost morale. A shot in the arm to employee engagement impacts productivity. A leader who lacks emotional intelligence can make any employee miserable, and miserable employees don’t do their jobs well.
- Less resistance to change. An effective leader is a good facilitator, encouraging new ideas, and allowing for innovation to flourish. Being a catalyst for change can help keep your organization dynamic and ever evolving.
- Ensure a succession plan for the future. Don’t get caught when one of your top leaders has to be replaced. Do you have a strong bench ready to step in?
- Greater accountability. Great leaders aren’t waiting for the man upstairs to dictate their every move. They take decisive action and own the results.
There are many reasons to start a leadership development program within your organization, and hopefully this list has started you thinking on that path. Of course, this doesn’t need to be a complicated or time intensive task – all it takes is a commitment to learning and the initiative to seek growth. Just promise me you won’t throw your money down the drain by not being strategic, by not thinking big, by not planning for the best results possible. Your leaders are too important to just send them to a class.