5 Steps to Improving Leadership Development
Traditional executive leadership training has placed a large focus on the development of the practical skills needed to manage teams. Increasingly, leadership development is shifting from this model to one that establishes soft skills that are key to decision making and performance. As the global business community continue to focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging, these secondary or softer skills are becoming primary drivers of leadership development programs. For leaders to get the most out of their development, there are several options that organisations have to ensure they are providing programs that offer a diverse approach to learning.
When embarking leadership training for culture change, it is important to have a clear understanding of the values you wish to instill in your employees and greater organisation. Developing this understanding of personal values and how you can build them into your day-to-day practices can play a significant role in establishing and sustaining workplace culture in the long term. This is a particular focus of the Dare to Lead™ program. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their personal beliefs and inspect the ways in which they practice their values in how they conduct their work.
It can be useful to run an assessment of a team or individual’s strengths prior to their participation in a leadership training course. Knowing what they already do well and in which areas they could improve, help to establish what kind of program they would receive the most benefit from. The 360º Feedback Report provides insight into how leaders are perceived by their teams and exposes key areas of success and growth. This can be a valuable tool for re-assessment and tracking the progress being made.
Open and honest communication is key to establishing the interpersonal relationships that help sustain a positive workplace culture. It relies on leaders allowing themselves to show vulnerability to their teams as well as a willingness to listen to their feedback and concerns. Leadership development programs that teach participants how to embrace vulnerability and establish a culture of trust throughout the organization leads to improved performance and success. Vulnerability is not a skill that you download in one go, it is rather complex, but at it’s core is honesty and transparency, however, there are always elements of what to disclose and not to disclose. Transparency without thinking through what you disclose as a leader can be dangerous, as can more traditional leadership styles of armouring up and showing no signs of vulnerability in the process. It is the balance of both extremes that creates leadership that enables a high trust organisation.
A strong measure of effective leadership comes when leaders are faced with uncertainty and challenges that push them towards innovation and creative problem solving. Leadership training programs that focus on developing creative thinking as well as practical skills, result in leaders who are better equipped to overcome unexpected challenges. As we have seen during times of challenge such as the COVID-19 global pandemic, leaders are required to respond to challenges over a longer term period of uncertainty and that requires new strengths in resilience and support and is a big part of leadership development programs to help organisations maintain organisational health through difficult times.
Establish Development Culture
Many leaders who profess a desire to improve their personal and professional development often put off doing so until they ‘have the time,’ without realising that the time to start is always now and that “some time” far too often becomes “no time”. Prioritising performance over development is to disregard the opportunity to get the greatest benefit out of both outlets. When learning and development are integrated into everyday practices, we establish ways of becoming better leaders in ways that enable us to improve overall performance. The evolution of leadership within an organisation is very much about a consistent loop of evaluation followed by a continued challenge of development where you need it most, and those who do it best are now building leadership development and high performance team programs with values and vulnerability at the core.
The development of leadership skills and practices is an integral part of both personal and organisational growth. Where performance is concerned, so too should leadership training be. The success of any organisation depends upon those who put in the effort each and every day to ensure it. Companies must provide support and opportunities for leadership and management training if they want to see performance exceeding that of their competitors.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.
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