Leadership development: It takes more than money

July 23, 2014 by Wally Bock

I’ve been reading posts like China Gorman’s “The Urgency of Leadership Development” and the Training Journal’s “Leadership development top priority for 2014.” They make it seem like, all of a sudden, top management has realized that leadership development is important. Great.

The problem is that we’ve heard all this before. What companies usually do is put some money into the leadership development budget, send out some inspiring emails, and then drift back to business as usual.

You can put that money to good use, adding programs and staff. And those emails are fine if they signal a real change in the way you do things.

Leadership development takes top management time

In companies with great leadership development, top management puts a lot of their time into it. When the boss pays attention to something, everyone else knows that it’s important. Besides, top management is in the position to drive a quality process down into the culture.

Leadership development takes a disciplined process

Companies who do this well have a rigorous, disciplined process. That process plays out in meetings and review sessions that are scheduled across the year. They become part of the rhythm of doing business.

Leadership development should be part of every manager’s job

Leadership development isn’t merely a review process. When it’s done right every manager in the company should be responsible for developing their team members. There should be bonus and career consequences.

Leadership development takes time

You don’t do this for a year, dust off your hands, declare victory, and move on. When it’s done right, leadership development goes on forever.

So, don’t just increase the leadership development budget. Any fool with a bank account can throw money at a problem. Make the organizational and cultural changes you need to make leadership development a part of “the way we do things around here.”

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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