Leadership development and change

January 24, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is all about change and there’s an old lightbulb joke that summarizes the situation.

Question: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Only one, but the lightbulb must sincerely want to change.

OK, OK, that’s not very funny, but it is true. You can have a state-of-the-art leadership development program, but if an aspiring leader doesn’t want to change, there’s not much that you can do.

Leadership development and the need for change

As Ben Horowitz said, “People rarely improve weakness they are unaware of.” Part of your leadership development program’s job is to make people aware of weaknesses and why the aspiring leader should work to change.

Eliminating weaknesses is only one part of the challenge because it’s mostly about performance today. Part of your job is to demonstrate to an aspiring leader how they should develop to prepare for the future they want.

Leadership development and the forces of change

People don’t usually show up ready to change. They discover the need to change from a combination of incidents and comments by bosses, mentors, and coaches. Once they’re ready to consider the hard work of change, you can use the forces for change to convince them that it’s time.

Demonstrate how things will be better if they change. They will either be able to do something better or more easily or they will no longer be stuck in an uncomfortable or frustrating situation.

Make it easy for them to change. Be their leadership development partner who will make the change achievable. And make it safe. Sure, they will make mistakes and they won’t be good all at once, but you can give them a safe place to practice and grow.

Leadership development is a change partnership. If you don’t do your part, the aspiring leader will have a hard time discerning what needs to change and getting it done. If they aspiring leader chooses not to change, your leadership development program is simply standby equipment.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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