Sorry I haven't been at the blog in a while, been taking some time off for fam and enjoying Spring here in SoDak (there's only so many days a year it's above freezing haha).
A Phone Call - What's Going on With Leadership Development These Days?
I had a convo with an old friend last week who works as an OD consultant for a large organization, and she asked why I thought it appeared there was a drying up of the proverbial 'leadership pipeline' in today's workforce? My answer went something like this...
#1 - Companies Still Refuse to Throw Away the 'Weakness-Focused' Development Mindset & Accept a Strengths-Based Approach!
Traditional Development focuses on an individual's weaknesses and how to go about fixing them. You start from a deficiency-mindset and try to fix what's wrong. The problem? You have limited upside in your potential when you focus on your weaknesses.
Only when you flip the script and focus on what you're innately talented in, feed that talent, and learn in the context of that talent/Strength can you exponentially increase your upside potential - this is true for Leadership and life.
I'm not sure how many more research papers, case studies & books have to come out before this becomes mainstream, but I hope for the sake of today's worker, it's not too many more.
#2 - "Don't Just take one Diet Pill This Year"
Somewhere in the evolution of leadership training and development over the last two or three decades we shifted the responsibility of training our current and next set of leaders...and we've failed.
Back in the day, a worker would look to one's manager as their source of knowledge, their roadmap for success, learning what a manager does, learning what a leader does, learning how to communicate, deal with difficult situations, etc..
Somewhere along the line, we decided leadership was important enough to create "Learning & Development," "Education," and "Organizational Development" positions and departments within organizations - awesome! But not quite awesome; over time, managers slowly started to ease out of their daily mentoring (*when was the last time you had a convo with your boss or one of your employees re: leadership?)
So to the "Diet Pill Analogy" - too many of these departments replaced the day-to-day interaction an employee had with his/her manager with a once-a-year half, or full-day "Leadership Training" event. Manager's thought it was great because the burden was lifted off of them (see above paragraph), Senior Management thought it was great because they were being "progressive" and were focused on employee development...the only people who didn't care for the change, the employees these events were supposed to serve.
Why? Rather than get individualized, day-to-day feedback, advice & guidance on their leadership abilities, employees are relegated to getting a prepackaged 8-hour training once a year (if they're lucky). This is the equivalent of being 100 lbs overweight and your trainer giving you one, just one, diet pill to take over next year to drop that unhealthy weight.
"Nope, we're not going to exercise, eat right, or even take the diet pill every day...just once."
That's where we're at with today's Leadership Development, we're giving our employees one pill, once a year, and expecting great leaders. REAL Leadership Development takes time, it takes energy, it takes day-in and day-out attention, and a recognition that each individual is just that...an individual.
It's time to start focusing on the individuals again, accessing their strengths and weaknesses & developing a plan for attacking their future!
husband + father + pilot + Leadership Coach | Consultant + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books