Leadership development and Adaptability

February 6, 2019 by Wally Bock

Leadership development programs must help developing leaders become better adaptors.

Leadership development insights can come from many places.  Boris Groysberg’s article, “What Football Firings Teach Managers About Staying Relevant,” is an example.  You may remember Groysberg as the person who studied leadership portability. Here’s the money quote from his recent article.

“As we took an in-depth look at the most successful coaches, several skills stood out: Effective managers make efforts to adapt based on industry changes, as well as on team strengths and weaknesses; they get the most by leveraging competitive resources, while communicating and collaborating effectively with key organizational stakeholders; they outsource a variety of tasks where it’s wise; and they stay curious, continuously learning from others and reinventing themselves.”

As the pace of change quickens, leaders face more and more “new” challenges. They must sort things out quickly and come up with workable solutions. How can leadership development programs help them do that better?

Leadership Development: Developing Agility with Exercises

We use exercises as part of classroom and self-directed training. Many exercises involve coming up with the “correct” answer. That’s the answer that the exercise designers know in advance. Alas, the world doesn’t work that way.

Enhance the exercises you give developing leaders. When they must come up with more than one right answer, they have more options. Instead of coming up with “the” answer to a problem, force them to come up with three workable solutions. Then add another dimension. Have participants test and compare the various right answers.

Develop exercises where participants figure out solutions and adapt them through iteration. Many leaders do that in the real world.

Leadership Development: Developing Agility with Action Learning

Action learning is a great method for developing leadership skills. Assign them t projects that help them learn several ways to solve a problem. You can also assign them to a team that includes people from other disciplines. Either way, the developing leader experiences several ways to solve real business problems.

Leadership Development Bottom Line

Developing leaders must improve agility skills to succeed in the turbulent business world. Help them by developing exercises that enhance the skills that go into agility. Assign them to action learning projects that expose them different ways of problem-solving.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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