By Lauren Tighe
Here is an activity. Identify a leader who you know well and complete this sentence: “Enter Leader’s Name could achieve even greater success if he/she did Fill in the Blank.” Sometimes, leaders do not realize that their style of leadership can be perceived as wrong or flawed. Perception is reality! Edward L. Flom wrote, “One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you’re perceived to be by others.”
In today’s business world, developing leaders is extremely important. So how are most companies developing their leaders? Some companies are leaving leaders alone, while others are putting their leaders through a development program. But is that working? Here are 4 tips to start leadership development in your company.
1. Job Fit
The first and most important question is, “Is this leader right for the job?” Job fit has everything to do with whether a leader is going to succeed or fail. If you put a person who is afraid to delegate work or can’t make decisions in a position as a leader, do you think they will succeed? Make sure that the person in the leadership role has all the qualifications of a leader.
Feedback is one of the most effective ways to help develop leaders. Just like in the activity above, do you think your leader is aware of the suggestion you put in the ‘fill in the blank’ above? Probably not. The more leaders know about themselves, the better leader they will become. Not only should they know more about themselves, but they should know more about the people they are leading. Assessments can help uncover the reality vs. perception.
3. Coaching and Training
People develop best on-the-job. Define exactly what you expect out of a leader in your company. Next, make sure the leader fully understands your company’s culture, job processes and systems. To help train the leader, create an individual project, a team project, or even a major training event. Provide mentorship opportunities for your leaders. Your leaders will grow through coaching. Coaching is a consistent and reliable management style that creates an open line of communication and an opportunity for growth. Remember to coach early and coach often.
Create a specific development plan for your leaders so they can visualize their future with your company. Once a job or a role becomes stagnant, motivation begins to deplete. Building a career path for your leader will help them focus and work harder because they will have a clear goal in mind. What does a leader have to gain if there is nothing to work towards? Recognize your leaders for significant performances or achievements and recognize them publicly.
Leaders do not just appear overnight. Leaders need to be continually trained and developed in order to succeed in a company. Many times, employees are afraid to speak up when they see something a leader may be doing incorrectly; then the leader goes on making the same mistake because they are not being developed. Remember to open up communication, continuously coach, and motivate your leaders to be the best they can! The better the leader is, the better your company will be!
What do you do to develop leaders in your company?