So, the title is a tongue-twister, which makes sense as we now move deeper into the book. Developing World Class Leaders is a summary of all of the lessons learned while tackling leadership development head-on. It really is a peculiar world where so many pieces have to flow together in order for the organization at large to thrive, not just function.
Here’s a problem that pops up as often as weeds in a veggie garden: how do you get people to act on opportunities for improvement? As mentioned in the book, it really is like knowing a patient smokes cigarettes yet struggling to get them to drop the habit.
When people do things that are detrimental to their health, it often has an impact on far more than just themselves. The same principle carries over into the corporate environment, where the impact of one individual’s failure to improve ultimately poisons the team and causes issues for the department and company at large.
It is hard to act on a strategic vision when people aren’t bringing their best. It is difficult to put new challenges to rest when people simply either cannot or will not begin to make the changes necessary for growth. Is it always a matter of termination? Goodness, no; termination creates bigger problems. Acquiring great employees is more difficult than ever. It makes a lot more sense to retain and refine the employees that are already present.
At this point, we’ve covered assessments and how to act upon them. It’s time to address the problem from the other side: how do you plug peculiar performance gaps? They’re called peculiar here because they may not even be complete performance killers. But a problem doesn’t have to be a large problem to be still a problem worth solving.
There are three arenas to conquer. While it won’t be fast, the journey ahead will ensure better leadership development that is actionable, meets people where they are, and gets them moving again.
Sharpening the Technical
The technical is something easily understood by everyone: it’s the meat and potatoes of the position itself. Sharpening the technical is important, and this is where ongoing training really shines. Most of us have taken great training as it relates to our actual roles. However, it is important not to rest solely on technical competence. As mentioned earlier, there are three arenas to master.
Making Peace with Soft Skills
Soft skills get a bad rap in the business world. It’s almost as if we assume that soft skills are the weakest when the opposite is the reality. Soft skills are a strength that can propel leaders to the next level. In fact, it’s essential that soft skills are encouraged, explored, and cultivated to the fullest. We all have stories of leaders that lacked diplomacy or the ability to resolve conflicts skillfully.
Soft skills are at the heart of leadership development; refine them well.
Embracing Self-Insight as a Superpower
The last arena to conquer deals with the need for self-insight. In other words, it is that the builders of the leadership development program must also examine their own approaches.
- Are you examining your own biases, opportunities, and communication style? Sometimes it’s the messenger, not just the message.
- Set aside meaningful time to do this consistently. Whatever frequency works for you is what will make it actionable. Don’t promise yourself daily reviews if you don’t have time for that type of thing. Quarterly is fine.
- How are you going to capture the data needed to reflect appropriately?
Overall, every company will take the points in this month’s blog in a different direction based on their unique goals. That’s perfectly fine. The greater message here is that peculiarities in leadership development happen. Dan Ariely called humans “predictably irrational”, and in so many ways, he’s absolutely right. What we have to do is be realistic, observe, and make flexible plans that take this into consideration.
Leadership development, despite all of its twists, turns, singularities, and peculiarities, is truly a critical component of the business landscape. It’s here to stay, and we’re all the better for it.
Dive Deeper Into Refinement With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development
Digging into the roots of better leadership development isn’t an easy journey. Yet it is absolutely essential for companies of all sizes.
Did you miss the deep dive on assessments? Check out the Strategic View of Hiring podcast episode, Exploring the World of Assessments.
Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.