Does Your Business Need a Leadership Development Reboot?

Leadership development is one of the most talked about and written about subjects on the planet. It is also the most misunderstood and, often, most neglected area of competency in organizations. In a work world largely populated with leaders who spend excessive amounts of time managing the inevitable and fostering the unremarkable, there is little time left to spend understanding their team’s genuine development needs.

Rather than being intentional and equipping teams with the leadership tools they need to succeed, many managers float along with the misguided illusion that individual and team growth just happens. And they wonder, when the dynamics are off and productivity hits the skids, “Why?”

Floating — the kind enjoyed in a calm, blue ocean — may be desirable on vacation, but in business, where a competitive advantage is desired and success and growth are important, it’s dangerous. You’d never float your finances and expect to get ahead. So why do we think it’s okay to do that with the most valuable resources in a business, the human ones?


Float along here all you want, but don’t try that with your teams at work. Photo courtesy of Jay Mantri.

Here’s the reality: our people and their performance can’t be left to casual coincidence. What becomes necessary, then, is a reboot in how we view leadership development: rather than being the nice “extra” we focus on when we have the time, we must view leadership development as essential to our overall success.

Here are seven factors to consider if it’s time for you to hit the reboot button in your organization and stop floating aimlessly where your people are concerned:

  1. Intentional Investment in Leadership Development: Leadership development never “just happens.” In applying focused leadership development within a framework of relational apprenticeship, organizations can rapidly shift the tide of mediocrity and give organizational clarity to best support, challenge, engage, and develop talent.
  2. Leadership Strategy: Effective leadership development is directed and requires a strong leadership strategy. Stand alone “one-off” event based leadership doesn’t work. Without a strong and sustainable strategy, even the most engaging initiatives vaporize over time without substantive behavioral change. A leadership strategy is quite prescriptive in defining the organizational requirements, the levels of leaders involved, and the deliverable of higher levels of IQ and EQ moving forward.
  3. Ninety Percent Coverage: Leadership development is often a perk only accessible to those within reach of the C-Suite. Targeting leadership development across multiple departments and sectors is best practice for the acceleration of healthy culture and success. If leadership is valued as influence, and influence is the commodity of success, great leaders must ensure that the leadership development strategies cascade across to impact at least ninety percent of the organization.
  4. Global Footprint: It’s a fact that globalization will continue to intensify at an unprecedented pace. The organizations who choose to stay in the lead pack will have a flat footprint defined by inclusive and multi-leveled engagement models. The new normal of global force requires that leaders embrace an international perspective of diversity and capacity for managing cultural difference.
  5. Virtual Reality: Tech savvy is no longer a value-add for leaders, rather a requirement. Technology now facilitates most of today’s communication with very little residue of remembrance for how we managed previously. Leading virtually is a reality and a requirement to lead geographically diverse networks. Technology will play an increasing role in dealing effectively and efficiently with others and a key to developing overall influence.
  6. Recharged Competencies: Conventional leadership competencies (IQ) are important and rarely static. As a result, it is imperative to have innovative approaches for maintaining your global edge. Understanding the intuitive market trends of the future while building for the “just in time” needs of your diverse employee network is a powerful key for success and legacy.
  7. Leadership is Applied Learning: To achieve lasting benefit, leadership development should be coordinated through real life learning opportunities. The goal of leadership development ultimately involves action, not concept or theory. Development means providing leaders with ongoing engagement opportunities to learn from their work, rather than taking them away from their work to learn.

Take Home

  1. Where are the gaps in your leadership development pipeline?
  2. What are your top three challenges in talent recruitment and development?
  3. How might you be “floating” your responsibilities and trusting the winds to guide your most important factors of development?
  4. Want to grow your leadership capacity, bench strength, and retention? Let us know how we can help.

Cover photo courtesy of  Sebastiaan ter Burg

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