Tag Archives: Leadership development

Our Leaders of Tomorrow

Who are our next generation of leaders – who is going to step up and take the reins?

 Lead In, Lead On: Leaders and Culture

One of the key issues that I continue to note is that many companies are not adept at identifying the gaps in their business. This includes gaining a genuine and methodical understanding of leadership practices and effectiveness in the organisation. It is very difficult to solve an issue that is not identified or put another way, a question unasked remains unsolved. Non-awareness can be due to various reasons often cultural, political or personal. In a broader, strategic sense this lack of identification can be seen in the outcomes and sub-cultures born out of poor leadership. Leadership development is a theme explored in a recent article in the InsideHR magazine titled, The Best leaders: Few and Far, Born Not Made.

A significant leadership shortage is looming over the world…Leadership is in crisis. Baby boomers are retiring and fewer Gen Y’s want to step up to the plate, creating a massive gap. Quality leaders are now hard to find. We have some data here on 3000 Australian leaders and 50 percent of the leaders in our study are creating environments that are demotivating for people.

If identification and subsequent action is not a deliberate and discussed corporate goal, then other seemingly more critical focus areas will be followed instead. Denial of leadership ineffectiveness in the first place means that businesses ignore the existing issues and not enable future growth in individuals and culture as a result.

Part of the problem is that there are too many leaders who just don’t measure up.

Another related issue is the mismanagement in effort and action for those leaders who are not capable of effectively leading and developing their teams. It is a corporate and social responsibility to ensure we provide the platform, support and opportunity for leaders to contribute and grow in their roles. In my experience this is most commonly performed poorly, with the effort to change and address challenges seemingly too difficult, or is not performed at all.

I have been in positions where individual employees have been dismissed based on poor, ongoing performance and behaviour – some who are long-term employees. When this is discussed at senior levels, there is acknowledgment that these team members had been a ‘problem’ for many years in some cases. My response in return is always, if this was a known issue, then why was no action taken to either develop or remove them? To date, there has never been a reasonable response to this question.

Denial, ignorance and/or laziness to act only lead to dismal results. Is this something you are prepared to accept…or do you wish to alter the outcomes by changing your contribution? A challenging question to answer and even more so to exploit. It is an important query however, reflecting the tytpe of issue highlighted by poor leadership practices and a culture that accepts varying degrees of mediocrity.

Creating a regular process to identify actions for the development of your leaders is an important step. This may form part of a bi-annual review, linked to other formal appraisal or assessment processes. A quarterly review of the progress, goals, contribution and direction of all team members could act as a catalyst for discussion.

A focus on how results are achieved as well as focusing on the end results themselves adds more value to the process. How we get there is as important as the outcome, enabling relationship-building, trust and process improvement throughout the process, amongst other benefits. When we focus on the outcome only, there is a tendency to cut corners and drive aspects of culture that ignore many necessary positive aspects…and often drive negative elements of culture also. This is just as important when focusing on leadership as a contributor to and receiver of cultural growth initiatives. The InsideHR article highlights 5 key leadership trends:

1. A shortage of leaders means there will be a gap in middle managers.
2. Succession planning is likely to be the hot issue ahead.
3. The best companies will be out recruiting future leaders.
4. The shortage of leaders will shape HR strategies.
5. There will be a heavy focus on leadership training.

A willingness to acknowledge the gaps in leadership and developing a culture of learning and growth, along with succession planning steps is a useful next stage. The challenge for many organisations is their willingness to spend the time and funding to understand the existing situation and culture. Considering the current status of individual leaders and the organisational leadership position should be part of the review process.

A blind hope that culture and leadership will somehow ‘look after itself’ is naive and poor business practice. The effort and discussions at senior levels that drive culture and direction can be difficult. However the benefits of developing strength in leadership now and for the future can be seen and felt…now and in the future.

How does your business stack up?

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Filed under Employee Engagement, Leadership

Character and Personality Contribute to Leadership

Is a strong personality an asset or a hindrance in leadership and how does it compare to character?

In my current role we have been recruiting quite a few new team members to our business in recent months and it has me thinking about the impact of character on business and team success. Personality and character are regularly referred to in similar terms and sometimes interchangeably, but I think the difference is most stark when looking to find diversity and the right mix for your team. That has certainly been my experience.

What is the difference and does it matter? Read the most recent blog on my CoachStation website to see my view…Character and Personality Contribute to Leadership

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Leadership and Team Development

Lead In, Lead On: CoachStation

Last week I wrote and published a blog on my CoachStation business site titled Leadership…This Year and Next. The premise for the content is that we should regularly review our progress and note how we feel about  development in various aspects of our lives. In part I wrote:

This time of year is often associated with resolutions or the idea that changes to what has been the past are required…when it comes to leadership, this ideal is as relevant as ever. As individuals and employees we should feel comfortable with this concept, although I recognise the reality is often somewhat different. Now is a good time to have a look at leadership in general and specifically review how you as a leader are performing against current benchmarks and needs, not those rooted in the past.

 What has altered in leadership for 2014?

The point that culture and society is evolving means that we as leaders need to keep abreast of cultural, societal, organisational behaviour and workplace adjustments. We are judged on many things including our ability to relate to people and influence others. This is a significant change in leadership principles from the past.

In addition to the points made in my original blog, there are several elements that many of us continue to expand upon and capitalise in both our personal and professional lives. This is most relevant when leading teams where each employee is looking to you for guidance and contribution. The premise of a ‘coaching leader’ has never been more relevant, nor important, to ensure that the skills and capabilities required in your leadership role are aligned with the essential tasks and accountabilities.

When performed well through action and coaching, a philosophy of continued development will maximise the opportunities for yourself, organisation and your team.

Whereas many of these elements are not new, it is of value to review and recommit to goals and progress. Too often elements such as time, procrastination, fear, pride and various other contributors stop us from really buying into ownership of our roles and fearlessly taking action. Challenging ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones, however briefly, remains a key doubt for some.

There are many reasons to develop yourself and your team, not the least of which is the satisfaction obtained when meaningful progress occurs. Knowing what each team member is looking for and connecting at an appropriate level is a great start. The desires and depth of experiences employees are looking for remains consistent. Being able to find these in reality remains a challenge. In general, people want to feel like they:

  • Can contribute to something larger.
  • Are respected and also are given the opportunity and environment to respect those they work with.
  • Can align their personal  values with peers, colleagues and organisations that employ them – this is critical!
  • Are able to ‘put their ideas out there’ without ridicule or dismissal.
  • Will be assessed on measurable performance and capability, not subjective, inconsistent, personality-driven assessments and reviews.
  • Have the opportunity to develop various aspects of their skills, capability and attributes based on their own needs, not on subjective, mass-produced training options.
  • Are empowered to make decisions and have relevant authority for their role.

Each one of us has the responsibility and obligation to commit to our roles and be accountable for our development. In an ideal world and in those cases where I see continued personal and professional growth, an assessment of progress and development is made regularly – at least each year. After all, as leaders, one of our key responsibilities is to develop other leaders. If there is no discernible improvement, growth or development in our team members at this point in time compared to the same time time last year, then both of us have failed.

Do you see areas where improvement or a refocus could be applied by yourself? When is comes to continued growth and development, where do you think you and your team are currently? Let me know your thoughts.

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Filed under Employee Engagement, Leadership, People Development