Leadership Development Leverage

March 27, 2019 by Wally Bock

Leadership development programs are complicated. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of levers to pull. How do you decide what to do first? 

The Forbes Human Resources Council recently weighed in with an article titled, “14 Smart Strategies for Supporting Leadership Development at Every Level.” The council is an “invitation only, fee-based organization for senior-level human resource executives.” 

Read the article. You’ll see lots of good ideas. But the executives don’t tell you what’s most important. 

I always got the best results when I identified high-leverage activities. High-leverage activities deliver the most payoff for the effort and other resources you put into them. Here are two high-leverage areas you can use to improve your leadership development.

Leadership Development Leverage: Better Bosses

Invest in improving the skills and performance of your current managers. You will get more effective bosses. You will also improve the quality of the role models that aspiring leaders see every day. Good bosses provide a mental model of how to be a good boss. Bad bosses may show you what not to do, but they don’t show you what to do instead. 

Pay special attention to developing good coaching skills. Coaching is the most important thing a boss can do with team members. Effective coaching leads to improved morale, improved productivity, and improved individual development.

Leadership Development Leverage: Learning from Experience

Experience is a great teacher, but only if you know how to extract lessons. When you help aspiring leaders develop the skills and habits of learning from experience, they will develop in ways you could never think of.

There are two parts to this. The aspiring leader must learn how to learn from experience. Then, he or she must develop the daily habits of observing, recording, reflecting, and learning. 

Leadership Development Leverage Bottom Line

High-leverage leadership development activities won’t do the whole job. You still must hone your own skills at selecting men and women likely to succeed as leaders. They still will need training and learning resources. Developmental assignments will still be important. But the high-leverage activities create an environment where all the other tools are more effective.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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