Leaders and their teams face a multifaceted crisis in the ever-evolving landscape of business and organizational dynamics. This leadership crisis comprises various components that together contribute to an environment fraught with uncertainty, stress, and inefficiency. Among these, a conspicuous issue is the alarming lack of accountability. This problem has far-reaching consequences that hinder growth, create burnout, and ultimately undermine the potential of leaders and organizations.
The Leadership Crisis Unveiled
The contemporary leadership landscape is a dynamic and multifaceted arena characterized by a series of complex challenges
that leaders and
organizations must navigate. In recent years, these challenges have converged into what can aptly be described as a leadership crisis. This crisis comprises several interrelated components that, when combined, create an environment fraught with uncertainty, stress, and inefficiency. Among these components, the distinct lack of accountability stands out as particularly alarming.
Promotion and Retirement:
Leadership in the 21st century faces numerous hurdles. Leaders today are often propelled into their roles at a pace never before witnessed. With the rapidly changing business landscape and the incessant demand for innovation, leaders find themselves ascending the ranks at astonishing speeds. This acceleration often comes at the expense of comprehensive training and mentorship. Leaders, especially those rising through the ranks, have less time to acquire the skills and knowledge required to navigate the intricate world of modern leadership. Consequently, they are left to grapple with their responsibilities without a solid foundation.
Adding to this challenge is the Baby Boomer generation's retirement, a significant demographic shift that has left a leadership void within organizations. The accumulated wisdom and experience of these seasoned leaders, acquired over decades of dedicated service, are being lost. This exodus creates a knowledge gap that often proves challenging to fill, further compounding the leadership crisis. As the newer generation takes the reins, they bring different work philosophies and expectations regarding work-life balance. While these new expectations are not misplaced or unreasonable, they require a drastic shift in the current North American work culture, which is not taking place fast enough to keep these new recruits happy and fulfilled in their positions.
This mass movement of Boomer retirement, which leads to accelerated promotion of young leaders, is a double-edged sword. The boomer population is a large mass of the current population, meaning there are not enough young leaders to take their place. While AI and automation help bridge these gaps, organizations must start looking ahead to restructure to use their talent better while not causing burnout to these young leaders, which we are unfortunately witnessing today. Rather than relocating resources and talent and investing in development and mentorship, many organizations are choosing to stack additional responsibilities onto their already overwhelmed leaders, creating mountains of additional work, much of which is unnecessary to the organization.
Leadership Generational Differences:
The generational differences in work philosophies have become increasingly apparent in today's diverse workforce. New leaders, often representing the millennial and Generation Z demographics, have introduced a notable shift in how they approach work. Many of them embrace a strict 9-5 mentality, which delineates work hours from personal time, and they are often more hesitant to engage in tasks beyond their regular work hours. This approach is rooted in a belief that personal life and work should remain separate, and their work should be confined within the boundaries of the traditional workday. Unlike previous generations, these leaders may not prioritize organizational loyalty as much and may not consider themselves "team players" in the traditional sense, as they often find it challenging to see direct personal impact from company wins and losses.
While these new leadership styles are not inherently detrimental, they starkly contrast past generations' expectations and practices. These differences necessitate a significant reevaluation of work environments and company cultures.
Organizations must reconsider their company goals and the pathways to achieving these goals if they wish to achieve them, as older methods will not be as successful.
To bridge this generational gap and adapt to the evolving leadership landscape, companies should focus on flexible work arrangements that accommodate different work philosophies, where it makes sense and doesn't negatively impact organizational culture and customer values. Embracing technology to facilitate remote work and flexible hours can help accommodate leaders who prefer a more balanced approach to work-life integration. At the same time, organizations must find new ways to instill a sense of purpose and personal impact within young leaders, aligning their contributions with broader company objectives. Often, this team mentality comes from working together in the office. When working from home constantly, it can be easy to become disengaged and disconnected from the company and team goals. In both office and online environments, encouraging open dialogue and collaboration can help create a sense of teamwork, even in a diverse generational workforce, fostering a space where accountability remains a core value. This shift towards adaptability and a more inclusive approach to leadership can lead to a harmonious coexistence of various leadership styles and ultimately contribute to organizational success.
The Accountability Abyss:
This is just the tip of the iceberg that could potentially sink our leadership if the course is not changed. The leadership crisis is an intricate and interwoven tangle of related issues. One thread that has recently been brought to our attention is the struggle with accountability from both leaders and teams. This issue manifests itself in multiple ways, contributing to an environment where trust is eroded, motivation wanes, and progress stagnates.
Leaders, for their part, often find it challenging to rely on their teams to meet their commitments. When team members fail to deliver as promised, it leads to incomplete projects and undermines the confidence leaders have in their teams. This lack of trust can lead to micromanagement, which, in turn, further hampers team performance and exacerbates the crisis.
On the flip side, teams often grapple with a sense of uncertainty regarding the promises made by their leaders. When leaders fail to follow through on their commitments or provide vague directives, team members are left confused and frustrated. This breakdown in communication and accountability creates a culture of uncertainty that impacts morale and productivity. The result is a vicious cycle of mistrust, frustration, and inefficiency that permeates the entire organization.
The absence of accountability has profound and far-reaching consequences. One of the most pronounced is the prevalence of overwork and burnout. When commitments are not met, and expectations are unclear, leaders and their teams often stretch themselves thin. The absence of clear priorities compounds this issue. In such an environment, everyone is left firefighting, dealing with immediate issues, and managing crises that seem to materialize out of thin air. Long-term goals and strategies become elusive as leaders and teams struggle to find the time and resources to address them.
Additionally, a lack of accountability leads to inefficient resource allocation. When commitments are not met, human and financial resources are often allocated haphazardly. Projects that were promised but remain incomplete tie up valuable resources which could have been better invested elsewhere. The result is a waste of time, money, and energy on initiatives that again feed back into the loop of frustration and further demotivation.
In essence, a lack of accountability pushes organizations into a perpetual state of crisis management rather than strategy development and execution. Without clear priorities and a commitment to forward planning, leaders and their teams continually react to crises rather than proactively addressing challenges and opportunities. This reactive stance impedes innovation, stunts growth, and leaves organizations vulnerable to unexpected disruptions.
Accountability is the cornerstone of effective leadership and teamwork. Without it, leaders cannot confidently delegate responsibilities, and teams cannot trust their contributions will lead to success. The consequences of a lack of accountability are far-reaching, as we have already seen manifesting in:
Overwork and Burnout: Without clear accountability, leaders and their teams are stretched thin, leading to overwork and burnout. The absence of clear priorities compounds this issue, as everyone ends up firefighting, making it challenging to address long-term goals and strategy.
Inefficient Resource Allocation: When commitments are not met, resources are often allocated haphazardly. This results in wasted time, money, and energy on initiatives that may not contribute to the organization's success.
Chronic Fire Fighting: A lack of forward planning and prioritization keeps leaders and teams constantly reacting to crises rather than proactively addressing issues. This reactive stance impedes innovation and growth.
Fostering a Culture of Accountability: While the leadership crisis may appear daunting, there are ways to mitigate the problem and restore a culture of accountability and efficiency within organizations. Here are some essential steps:
Leaders must set an example by demonstrating their commitment to accountability. When they hold themselves to high standards, it encourages their teams to do the same.
In any organization, leadership accountability isn't just a desirable trait; it's the cornerstone upon which a productive, efficient, and cohesive team stands. Leaders' actions and behaviour, especially in positions of authority and influence, set the precedence for the entire team. When leaders lack accountability, it sends ripples throughout the organization, affecting their own performance and having significant consequences for the entire team.
Leaders who lack personal accountability often fail to meet their commitments, make excuses for their actions or inactions and are quick to deflect blame onto others. This behaviour undermines trust, creates a culture of finger-pointing, and fosters a sense of unfairness among team members. These negative consequences ripple through the organization, creating an atmosphere of chaos and mistrust.
As a leader, the implications can be profound when you're confronted with team members who lack personal accountability. Firstly, it places additional pressure and expectations on you to pick up the slack. You may find yourself constantly monitoring their work, following up on unmet commitments, and expending extra effort to ensure that projects are completed on time. This extra workload not only increases your stress and workload but also diverts your focus from strategic leadership tasks and long-term planning.
Furthermore, your team members' lack of personal accountability erodes your ability to delegate effectively. Delegation is fundamental to leadership, allowing you to distribute responsibilities and empower your team. When accountability is absent, you may feel compelled to take on more tasks yourself, leading to burnout and a lack of balance in your work-life equation.
The consequences of a leader's lack of accountability extend beyond the immediate impact on the individual. It influences the entire team, as team members may perceive a lack of fairness and equity. When they observe a leader avoiding responsibility or not being held accountable for their actions, it sends a disheartening message about the organization's values and commitment to fairness and integrity.
No one likes to work with or for a hypocrite. It's important to work on your own accountability before you start working on resolving your team's lack of accountability.
One way to improve your and your team's accountability is to have open lines of communication. Leaders and teams should feel comfortable discussing challenges, setting expectations, and sharing feedback. This creates a collaborative atmosphere that promotes accountability.
Demonstrate to your team when you are being held accountable and the impact that has on both you and the team. Now, this is not a finger-pointing party but rather an honest and open dialogue about sharing your successes and failures as both a leader and a team. Your team may struggle with accountability as they don't perceive any urgency in the tasks given to them.
Open communication is not merely a valuable organizational asset but a fundamental building block for cultivating a culture of accountability. In any leadership role, fostering an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas is essential. When lines of communication remain clear and unobstructed, it becomes significantly easier to uphold accountability and address tasks in a timely manner. The impact of this open dialogue within an organization cannot be overstated, as it has far-reaching implications for the team's efficiency and the potential consequences of failing to meet expectations.
Open communication is a conduit for clarifying expectations and aligning team members with their responsibilities. When leaders engage in transparent conversations with their teams, they can set clear goals, assign tasks, and provide essential context for understanding the importance of those tasks. Team members, in turn, can ask questions, seek clarification, and provide feedback on potential challenges they may face in completing their assignments. This exchange ensures that everyone is on the same page and fully comprehends the significance of their contributions.
Certain tasks and deadlines within an organization are important not only for achieving short-term goals but also for maintaining the overall momentum of the team. Timely completion of tasks is critical for workflow continuity, project success, and client satisfaction. These tasks can have significant ramifications when they are not accomplished on schedule.
For instance, a missed deadline for a crucial project can lead to delays in product launches, reduced revenue, and potential damage to the organization's reputation. Clients or stakeholders who were counting on timely deliverables may become dissatisfied, potentially leading to financial losses and a strained professional relationship. In essence, the repercussions of failing to meet deadlines or complete vital tasks within the specified timeframe can be detrimental to an organization's success.
In a culture of accountability and open communication, consequences for failing to meet expectations are not just idle threats but a necessary and constructive part of the process. Leaders must hold themselves accountable to the same standards they set for their team. When they are unable to meet their commitments, it's crucial that they acknowledge their shortcomings and work to address them.
Mastering Time Blocking: A Strategy for Effective Crisis Management
While the above strategies for working on accountability are more immediate, this next session offers a vital proactive approach to accountability that will have a lasting impact on both leaders and teams. This tip is from our 4-Steps to TIME Shifting program, which specializes in helping leaders maximize their productivity so that they can get back to the things in their lives that really matter.
Working with various leaders and organizations, we at HPL constantly hear complaints that leaders are always firefighting to the point they can never get anything else done. One innovative approach to ensuring that you're not just reacting to crises all day is the concept of time blocking, which can be a game-changer for achieving productivity and crisis management. Let's explore how time blocking and strategic scheduling can help leaders deal with recurring issues and create pockets of productivity in their busy schedules.
Setting the Stage with Time Blocking:
Time blocking involves allocating specific time slots for various tasks and activities in your calendar. It's a proactive strategy that helps you prioritize essential work and prevents reactive, last-minute firefighting. By structuring your day, you can create dedicated spaces in your schedule to systematically address recurring issues and crises.
Creating Dedicated Crisis Management Time:
One key element of time blocking is designing specific time slots for dealing with crises. This practice acknowledges that crises can and will happen, but rather than letting them derail your entire day, you address them in a structured manner. By blocking out both morning and afternoon 20-minute meetings in your calendar labelled as "Crisis Management," you create a routine for managing unexpected challenges. At HPL, we recommend a standard 9:30am and 3:30pm Crisis Management Meeting. These meetings should include just about everyone on your team. When the crisis is identified, only meet with the team members who are directly impacted and cancel the meeting for anyone who isn't or doesn't need to be involved.
This effectively ensures a few things:
Morning Crisis Management Meeting:
In the morning, schedule a crisis management meeting to take place at the same time each day, say, 9:30 AM. This meeting is critical for several reasons. First, it allows you to assess the nature and severity of the crisis, which can vary greatly. It's also an opportunity to determine if the crisis is something that needs immediate attention or if it can wait until the crisis management meeting time.
Importantly, this meeting should involve your entire team, and it should be on their calendars as well. This approach ensures that no one is caught off guard by an urgent meeting and allows for effective team collaboration. As you gather more information about the crisis, you can choose to cancel the meeting for those team members who won't contribute meaningfully to the discussion (not within their job description or outside their scope), allowing them to focus on their own tasks.
Keep these meetings concise, lasting no longer than 20 minutes. The purpose is to allocate tasks and responsibilities to address the crisis and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Afternoon Crisis Management Meeting:
The afternoon meeting, held close to the end of the day, serves as a follow-up session for the crisis management tasks assigned in the morning. This meeting provides an opportunity to review progress, determine what's left to be done to overcome the crisis and ensure that the issue is effectively resolved.
These crises can vary in duration, spanning from a single day to several weeks, depending on their nature. The crucial aspect is that, by dedicating time to dealing with these crises, you free up your schedule to be productive in other areas rather than being consumed by firefighting all day. In essence, time blocking for crisis management is a strategic approach that allows leaders to allocate time to deal with unexpected issues, maintain productivity in other areas, and foster efficient team collaboration. By implementing this structured system, leaders can be better prepared to tackle crises, making them a manageable aspect of their daily routines rather than a disruptive force that throws the entire day into chaos every day! Time blocking is a powerful tool for any leader looking to balance proactive leadership and effective crisis management.
In a nutshell, the article delves into the current leadership crisis, where accountability is sorely lacking. This crisis stems from factors like rapid promotions, the retirement of experienced Baby Boomers, and generational differences in work attitudes. The consequences are burnout, inefficient resource use, and a perpetual cycle of firefighting.
To address this crisis, the article suggests several key steps:
Leadership Accountability: Leaders should set an example by demonstrating personal accountability, as their behaviour significantly impacts the entire team and organization. When leaders lack accountability, it creates a culture of finger-pointing and mistrust.
Open Communication: Encouraging open dialogue and transparent communication between leaders and teams can help clarify expectations and responsibilities, fostering a culture of accountability.
Time Blocking for Crisis Management: Implementing time blocking by scheduling specific time slots for addressing crises allows leaders to manage unexpected challenges proactively. This structured approach helps prevent reactive firefighting and ensures productive team collaboration.
The article emphasizes that accountability is essential for effective leadership and teamwork and should be a cornerstone of organizational culture to achieve long-term success.
In the fast-paced business world, leadership has transformed from mere management to visionary guidance. Effective leadership isn't just about steering the ship; it's about inspiring and leading teams towards excellence. Leadership, the timeless cornerstone of progress, has witnessed a seismic shift over the past five years. The evolving landscape of business, technology, and society has ushered in a leadership crisis that demands a radical rethink of traditional models.
Global uncertainties, from geopolitical tensions to economic upheavals, have constantly placed leaders in flux. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, acted as a crucible, testing leaders' coping abilities as they navigated uncharted waters. Remote work, health concerns, and rapid market fluctuations challenged leaders to demonstrate genuine adaptability, empathy, and resilience like never before.
Additionally, a flurry of baby boomer retirements, which will continue to increase over the next few years, presented an additional problem.
Many organizations are reporting that they are experiencing a leadership crisis. Younger leaders are accelerating through the levels of leadership with
less experience and less opportunity for growth or mentorship than their predecessors. Many of these leaders find themselves in direr sink or
swim situations, unprepared with the skills and tools they need to navigate this ever-changing business landscape.
Personal development and leadership development have never been as important as it is today. To achieve excellence and stand out during this leadership crisis, here are a few ways to break down the essence of what it means to be a high performing leader and create a curated roadmap to leadership development.
Understanding the Essence of High-Performance Leadership
Leadership emerges as the driving force in the DNA of a successful organization. Leaders are not just decision-makers but architects of the workplace culture, shaping employee morale, engagement, and productivity. Establishing a high performance workplace culture isn't a trivial task—it's a deliberate endeavour that hinges on strategic leadership development. By aligning with essential development goals, leaders can unlock their potential to create a conducive environment where teams flourish, setting the team on the path to high performance culture.
Being a high performance leader involves embodying a set of qualities and behaviours that inspire exceptional results, which in turn fosters a high performance culture. Such leaders are visionaries who provide a clear direction and motivate their teams toward common goals. They possess strategic thinking abilities, making informed decisions and adapting strategies to changing circumstances. Effective communication is a cornerstone of their leadership style, fostering open dialogue and active listening.
High performance leaders empower their teams by delegating responsibilities, fostering autonomy, and valuing diverse perspectives. They demonstrate adaptability and resilience, turning challenges into growth opportunities. Inclusivity is paramount to their approach, recognizing and appreciating each team member's contributions. Collaboration is central to how they lead; they seek input, encourage innovation, and work alongside their teams to achieve results.
These leaders prioritize results, setting high standards while providing support and resources. Continuous learning drives their personal growth, enabling them to stay updated and integrate new knowledge. Empathy and integrity define their interactions, as they understand team members' needs and lead by example with honesty and transparency. High performance leaders create a culture of excellence, adaptability, and innovation, steering their teams and organizations toward enduring success.
Development Goals: The Path to High-Performance Leadership
During a leadership development journey, breaking down goals into fundamental properties is akin to constructing a strong foundation for a towering structure. This entails deliberate introspection, self-awareness, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By dissecting leadership goals into smaller, achievable components, you pave the way for focused growth and measurable progress.
At the heart of this process lies self-reflection—a vital tool for understanding strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Take time to assess current leadership skills, areas for improvement, and the direction you envision for growth. This introspective practice informs your goal-setting and fosters a deeper understanding of the kind of leader you aim to become.
Embracing mentorship opportunities is an important strategy for accelerated development. The mentor-mentee dynamic offers a wealth of insights and guidance. As a mentee, you can tap into the knowledge and experiences of seasoned leaders, gleaning wisdom that might take years to acquire independently. On the flip side, becoming a mentor reinforces your leadership insights and nurtures your ability to guide and inspire others.
The significance of leadership development goals cannot be overstated. Just as a compass points a ship in the right direction, these goals provide a roadmap for your growth as a leader. They crystallize your ambitions, set clear benchmarks, and help track progress. You nurture holistic development by focusing on personal growth goals alongside leadership objectives. Personal growth encompasses qualities like emotional intelligence, adaptability, and resilience—traits that fortify your leadership capabilities.
At HPL, high performance leadership development is what we do and what we pride ourselves on. The following are 4 aspects that are vital to any leader who is ready to start their journey to becoming a high performing leader.
1. Visionary Leadership: Casting the Future
Visionary leadership transcends mere goal-setting; it's about crafting a compelling vision that harmonizes with the company's culture. A leader's ability to articulate a clear and inspiring vision offers teams a purpose beyond tasks. This vision becomes a guiding light, channeling collective efforts toward a shared aspiration. High performance leaders share this vision and ignite a sense of ownership among employees, fostering motivation and dedication.
2. Effective Communication: The Foundation of Trust
Effective leadership begins with open communication. Transparency in communication nurtures trust, aligns expectations, and minimizes ambiguity. When leaders actively listen to their team members and cultivate an atmosphere that values diverse viewpoints, they lay the groundwork for collaboration and innovation. Leaders who communicate with clarity and empathy build rapport and encourage teams to thrive.
3. Building High-Performance Teams: A Collaborative Endeavor
Behind a high-performance workplace culture stand high-performance teams. Effective leaders identify their teams' strengths and weaknesses, optimizing resource allocation. Nurturing talent involves recognizing individual potential, offering avenues for growth, and fostering collaboration where team members complement one another. Leaders who prioritize team empowerment and value their contributions cultivate an environment where excellence naturally flourishes.
4. Adaptability and Resilience: Thriving Amidst Change
Change is constant, and high performance leaders are prepared to embrace it. The ability to adapt in the face of change demonstrates agility and forward-thinking. Adaptable leaders view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. Equally vital is resilience—a trait that allows leaders to rebound from failures. By demonstrating resilience, leaders set an example for their teams, motivating them to persist in the face of adversity.
Incorporating High-Performance Leadership Development
The journey toward high-performance leadership is perpetual, requiring commitment, introspection, and a hunger for growth. High performance leadership goes beyond daily tasks; it shapes an organization's destiny and the trajectory of its members. Leaders create a workplace culture where excellence becomes second nature by embracing visionary leadership, fostering effective communication, nurturing team development, adapting to change, and showcasing resilience.
In an era characterized by volatility and competitiveness, high performance leadership is no longer a luxury—it's a prerequisite for success. Organizations prioritizing leadership development gain an edge, demonstrating adaptability, innovation, and an unswerving pursuit of goals. Aspiring leaders must understand that their developmental voyage catalyzes organizational triumph. By nurturing these crucial skills, they unlock their true potential, propelling their teams toward remarkable achievements.
Likewise, individual leaders who take it upon themselves to invest in their own leadership development will see their careers take incredible leaps. In a competitive hiring market, it's important to find ways to stand out and demonstrate high performance leadership skills and attributes. By investing in leadership and personal development, leaders take the opportunity to stand out, fostering a community of high performance leadership within their team and organization. That’s part of the beauty of a high performance leader; their unique leadership style and high performance skills positively affect those around them within their team and even across their organization. One small step for a leader can have an impressive ripple effect across organizations leading to new heights of leadership excellence.
Unlocking Potential with High Performance Leaders' (HPL) Programs
Organizations and leaders can leverage HPLs' leadership development programs to fully realize the concepts discussed here. These comprehensive programs are meticulously designed to hone visionary leadership, effective communication, team development, adaptability, and resilience skills. With a proven track record of transforming leaders into catalysts of excellence, HPL programs offer a blend of just enough concept knowledge to understand their importance and how they work and heavy on hands-on practice and real-world application, empowering participants to effectively navigate today's leadership challenges.
The programs are specifically designed and tailored to leaders at all levels in any organization, ensuring that there is always the right program available for every leader.
Advanced Leadership Transformation: For High potentials, Experienced and Senior Leaders
In our Advanced Leadership Transformation Program, we go beyond the basics, delving deep into the intricacies of leadership, honing your abilities, and empowering you to make a lasting impact. Whether you're an experienced executive aiming to enhance your leadership prowess or an aspiring manager seeking to accelerate your growth, this program is tailor-made to elevate your career trajectory and allow you to lead at scale.
What sets our program apart is our unwavering commitment to fostering transformational leadership. Our facilitators are industry experts, leadership coaches, and accomplished mentors who will guide leaders through a comprehensive curriculum encompassing cutting-edge theories, real-world case studies, and hands-on exercises. Gain invaluable insights into effective leadership through immersive workshops, interactive discussions, and practical applications.
Our program covers various essential leadership competencies, from organizational culture to cultivating high-performing teams and implementing organizational change. Develop a profound understanding of leadership styles, learn to adapt to diverse situations and expand emotional intelligence to inspire and motivate others.
Moreover, our program is designed to create a strong network of like-minded leaders, facilitating meaningful connections and opportunities for collaboration. Being surrounded by a diverse community of professionals from various industries and backgrounds allows for cross-pollination of ideas and a broader perspective on leadership challenges.
Lead From the Middle: For Mid-level Managers, Project Managers, High Potential Leaders
Are you in a middle management role, eager to elevate your leadership skills and significantly impact your organization? Look no further than our transformative program, Lead from the Middle. Designed specifically for leaders like you, this program empowers you to unlock your full leadership potential and drive meaningful change.
In today's dynamic business environment, leading from the middle requires unique skills and abilities. Our Lead from the Middle program equips you with the essential tools, knowledge, and strategies to navigate the complexities of your role and become a catalyst for success.
Through immersive workshops, insightful discussions, and practical exercises, our program provides a comprehensive learning experience tailored to your challenges and opportunities as a middle manager. Led by industry experts and seasoned leadership coaches, you'll gain invaluable insights into the key principles of effective middle management.
From mastering talent development, effective communication and building influential relationships to driving collaboration and managing change, our program covers many critical leadership competencies. You'll develop the skills to motivate and inspire your team, foster engagement, and confidently navigate cross-functionally through and around organizational complexities.
One of the key features of our program is its emphasis on practical application. We provide you with actionable strategies and tools to implement immediately in your daily work, enabling you to drive impactful change and achieve tangible results. You'll receive personalized guidance and support, helping you overcome common challenges and seize opportunities for growth.
Our Lead from the Middle program also fosters a vibrant community of leaders with similar experiences and aspirations. Connect with diverse peers, exchange ideas, and learn from each other's successes and challenges. Expand your professional network and gain valuable insights to enhance your leadership journey.
Front Line Leaders: For Leaders Who Understand the Hard Work of Leading from the Front Line
Are you a front-line leader looking to enhance your leadership skills and make a lasting impact on your team? Look no further than our transformative Front-Line Leadership Program, designed specifically for aspiring and current supervisors, team leads, and managers who drive organizational success.
In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, front-line leaders are crucial in translating strategy into action and inspiring their teams to achieve exceptional results. Our program is carefully crafted to equip you with the essential tools, knowledge, and mindset needed to excel in this dynamic and challenging role.
Through a blend of interactive workshops, practical exercises, and real-world case studies, our Front-Line Leadership Program provides a comprehensive and immersive learning experience. Led by industry experts and seasoned leadership coaches, you'll gain invaluable insights into the key principles of effective front-line leadership.
Our program covers various vital leadership competencies, from mastering communication and conflict resolution to motivating and empowering your team. You'll learn proven techniques for setting clear expectations, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a positive and inclusive work environment that drives engagement and productivity.
One of the unique aspects of our program is its emphasis on practical application. We understand that front-line leaders face unique challenges and time constraints, so we provide you with actionable strategies that can be implemented immediately in your day-to-day work. You'll receive personalized guidance and support, enabling you to confidently navigate complex situations and make informed decisions that align with your organization's goals.
Moreover, our program creates a vibrant community of front-line leaders, offering opportunities for networking, peer learning, and collaboration. Connect with like-minded professionals from various industries, exchange best practices, and gain fresh perspectives on common leadership challenges. Expand your network and forge relationships that will continue to support your growth long after the program ends.
4 Steps to TIME Shifting: For all Leaders <--- Best Value
Become the Master of Your Time with 4-steps to TIME Shifting and make time for the things that really matter!
Are you a leader who constantly finds yourself struggling to balance work, personal life, and everything in between? Do you wish you had more control over your schedule and could find the perfect harmony between productivity and personal well-being? Look no further because (HPL proudly presents 4-Steps to TIME Shifting, the ultimate self-paced course designed exclusively for leaders like you.
TIME Shifting is offered in two formats, virtual self-paced or virtual synchronized, allowing leaders to learn as needed and find an option that fits their schedule. This program empowers you to take charge of your life and become a true master of your time. Developed based on years of leadership experience, Glenn Sommerville provides you with invaluable scheduling tips and techniques, teaches you how to effectively block time for yourself, conquer email overload, and discover your personal and business rhythms.
By enrolling in TIME Shifting, you begin to take back control of your life. This program equips you with the essential skills to optimize your time, boost your productivity, and confidently lead. Imagine easily managing your responsibilities, creating a healthy work-life balance, and achieving unprecedented results in all aspects of your life!
Leadership self-confidence is a vital attribute that empowers leaders to guide and inspire their teams effectively. However, it's not uncommon for leaders to struggle with moments of self-doubt and insecurity. Everyone, at some point in their leadership career, experiences some self-doubt. If we don’t, we’re not being challenged, or our egos might be inflated!
The pressure to exude confidence can overwhelm today's fast-paced and competitive business landscape. Building self-confidence as a leader is essential for your personal well-being and effectively leading and inspiring your team. Team members can smell a lack of confidence a mile away!
1. Self-Awareness and Reflection
Understanding oneself is the foundation of building leadership self-confidence. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth. It involves honest introspection and an acknowledgment of your accomplishments and the challenges you've overcome. Here's how self-awareness and reflection can contribute to your confidence as a leader:
a. Acknowledging Achievements: Reflect on your past achievements, both big and small. Often, we underestimate the significance of our accomplishments. Think about what specific actions or attributes led to the accomplishments so that you may repeat or double down on them going forward. Recognizing your successes can remind you of your capabilities and instill a sense of pride and self-worth.
b. Seeking Feedback: Don't hesitate to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or team members. Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into how others perceive your leadership style. This external perspective can help you identify areas for improvement and validate your strengths. A simple but very effective way to obtain useful feedback is to ask them to answer these three questions:
c. Focusing on Growth: Embrace the idea that leadership is a journey of continuous improvement. While celebrating your accomplishments, also acknowledge that there's always room for growth. This balanced approach to self-awareness allows you to appreciate your existing skills while remaining open to development.
Frequent reflection is the key to developing higher levels of self-awareness. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. One way I reflect is each day I set an “intention.” A few words that describe an intentional and specific learning, personal focus, or growth action I will take. Then I “reflect” on the previous day by writing a few words to describe my most impactful reflection. It can be something positive or constructive. It might be based on interactions with people, things I learned, frustrations I experienced, or challenges I faced. These help me understand what I want to do more that works for me or what I need to do differently.
2. Continuous Learning
Leadership is not static; it evolves with time and changing circumstances. I often use the professional athlete analogy for leadership. Becoming a professional athlete takes some basic skills and abilities that are developed and honed to high performance levels over time and with lots of early training. Once they achieve professional levels, athletes train even harder, develop new skills, stay current, and continually improve themselves and their techniques to continue succeeding and performing at those levels. It is the same for leadership as with professional sports! Leaders must continue to learn and develop new skills to be prepared and capable of handling their challenges, most of which they have yet to experience.
Investing in personal and professional development is a powerful way to enhance your leadership self-confidence. Here's how continuous learning contributes to your confidence:
a. Expanding Knowledge: Attend workshops, seminars, and training sessions that are relevant to leadership and related skills. Often in training and development sessions, there is more material than you can retain long term. You may hear or read some concepts that you’ve heard before; however, a periodic refresher reminds us of concepts and techniques we may not have had an opportunity until now to utilize fully. Acquiring new knowledge and expertise both motivates and equips you with the tools to confidently navigate complex challenges. Networking opportunities at these types of sessions also can be a source of a confidence booster as you quickly learn that you are not alone with your challenges, have much to offer and coach others on, and can equally learn from others' experiences.
b. Skill Development: Learning new skills, such as effective communication, conflict resolution, or strategic planning, can significantly boost your self-assurance. As you apply these skills in real-world scenarios, you'll gain confidence in handling various leadership situations. Look and seek out opportunities within your current team or organization that will provide you with new opportunities to develop new skills. Assignments, projects, or just supporting and helping out others are great ways to develop new skills.
c. Staying Informed: In a rapidly changing world, staying informed about industry trends, technological advancements, and market dynamics is crucial. Being well-informed bolsters your confidence and enables you to make informed decisions as a leader. A great way of staying informed is to get out of your company a few times a year to benchmark other businesses. These businesses don’t necessarily have to be in the same market as you. Look for consortiums, organized benchmarking events, or utilize your professional network to request visits to other organizations. Leverage your professional network to schedule periodic coffee or lunch meetings with other leaders to see what they are working on and their challenges or seek their advice or opinion. Benchmarking and networking are awesome ways to stay informed about what is happening outside your immediate company's four walls.
3. Celebrate Small Wins
Leaders are often focused on motivating their teams and celebrating collective successes. However, it's equally important to celebrate your personal achievements as a leader, no matter how minor they may seem. Celebrating small wins forces you to occasionally step off that hamster wheel and realize what you have accomplished and where you have succeeded. Otherwise, it’s too easy just to keep running to the next challenge or getting whacked by one without appreciating what we have achieved. I am one who has always been so focused on the goal that I too often miss the smaller achievements on the journey to the ultimate goal. When we do this, we may have a tendency to see the obstacles and challenges being faced, set-backs experienced, and future risks without recognizing just how far we have come, what we have learned and where we have developed, the problems we have solved, new skills picked up, and not appreciating that we are ready for what lays ahead and face them with renewed confidence.
Here's why celebrating small wins is essential for leadership self-confidence:
a. Reinforcing Competence: Acknowledging your individual successes reinforces the belief that you are competent and effective as a leader. It serves as a reminder of your ability to make a positive impact and what you do well.
b. Setting Personal Goals: Establish personal leadership goals and milestones. When you achieve these goals, celebrate them. This practice boosts your self-confidence and provides a sense of purpose and direction in your leadership journey. It’s amazing the difference setting goals can make. Not only are you more likely to achieve more, it gives you concrete achievements to celebrate!
c. Creating a Positive Feedback Loop: Celebrating small wins creates a positive feedback loop. The more you recognize your achievements, the more motivated and confident you become. This positivity can radiate to your team, creating a more inspiring leadership presence.
Leadership self-confidence is not about being flawless or never making mistakes. It's about knowing your strengths, recognizing areas for growth, and continuously developing your skills. You can steadily enhance your leadership self-confidence by practicing self-awareness and reflection, investing in continuous learning, and celebrating small wins.
In addition to the three strategies mentioned above, there are several other techniques and practices that should also be considered in support of leadership self-confidence. Leadership often comes with its share of challenges and setbacks. Developing resilience in the face of adversity can help you bounce back stronger and more confident. View obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning. Surround yourself with mentors and coaches who can provide guidance, perspective, and support. Having a trusted advisor can help you navigate difficult situations and provide valuable insights to boost your confidence. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for maintaining confidence. Engage in mindfulness practices, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Remember that building self-confidence is a journey that takes time and effort. Embrace the growth process, and don't be discouraged by occasional setbacks. As you consistently apply these strategies, you'll become a more self-assured and effective leader who can inspire and lead confidently. So, start today on the path to becoming the confident leader you aspire to be. Your team and your organization will benefit from your newfound self-assured leadership style.
Working with various clients and in a number of coaching calls, we've found that many High Performing Leaders struggle holding their team accountable.
While accountability is an uncomfortable topic for many leaders, it is essential in any organization. It is the foundation of trust and integrity, which are crucial in building a successful team and high performance cultures.
When it comes to leadership accountability, it is even more important as leaders set the tone for the organization's culture and its performance. Leaders who hold their team members accountable not only drive their organizations towards success but also create a culture of excellence and mutual trust.
Here we will discuss the importance of leadership accountability, the consequences of poor accountability, the reasons for leaders' fear of accountability, why team members are afraid of accountability, and how leaders can hold their team members accountable.
The Importance of Team Member Accountability
Leaders who hold their team members accountable set the standard for the organization. They demonstrate the importance of deadlines, quality, and expectations. When team members are held accountable, they are more likely to take their work seriously, leading to better performance and productivity. In addition, accountability creates a culture of responsibility and ownership. Team members are more likely to take ownership of their work and the success of the organization.
Holding team members accountable helps leaders identify areas where improvements are needed. Leaders can identify gaps in skills, training, and communication, which can then be addressed. This leads to a continuous improvement cycle, which can result in higher quality work and better outcomes.
Leaders Accountability to Their Team Members
Leaders must lead by example. This means that they must be accountable to their team members, just as they expect their team members to be accountable to them. When leaders are accountable to their team members, they demonstrate the importance of honesty, integrity, and transparency. This creates a culture of mutual trust, where team members feel safe to share their opinions and ideas.
When leaders hold themselves accountable for their actions and decisions, they demonstrate to their team members the importance of taking ownership and responsibility for their work. This, in turn, leads to team members feeling empowered and motivated to perform their best.
Empowered leaders who lead by example create a sense of integrity and credibility within the organization. When team members see their leaders walking the talk and taking responsibility for their actions, they are more likely to trust them and follow their lead. This trust and respect create a positive work environment where team members feel valued and respected. This further encourages team members to hold themselves to higher levels of accountability. They can see the benefits through their leader's example.
When no individual is exempted from this loop of accountability, no one will feel as if they are personally being "picked on" or singled out among their peers negatively. When everyone is accountable, the only ones who stand out are those who are not meeting their commitments.
Consequences of Poor Accountability
Poor accountability can have significant consequences for an organization. When team members are not held accountable, they may not take their work seriously, leading to low-quality work and missing or even dismissing deadlines. This can damage the reputation of the organization and lead to lost business opportunities. In addition, poor accountability can result in a toxic work environment, where team members blame each other for mistakes and avoid taking ownership of their work. This can lead to low morale, high turnover, and a negative culture.
Furthermore, poor accountability can have legal and financial consequences. For example, if an organization fails to comply with regulations or laws, it can face legal action and financial penalties. Similarly, if an organization fails to meet its contractual obligations, it can lose business and face financial penalties.
As you can see, poor accountability can very quickly spill over and spread like a horrible fungus through the work environment, making work toxic and dangerous for everyone, including customers!
Consequences, by definition, are the results or effects that follow from a particular action or decision. They can be positive or negative, and they are essential to creating a sense of accountability in the workplace. When consequences are clear and consistent, they help team members understand the importance of their actions and their impact on the business's success.
One of the most critical aspects of consequences is that they must be communicated clearly and in advance. When team members understand the potential outcomes of their actions, they are more likely to take their responsibilities seriously and work to meet their commitments. Additionally, clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands the expectations.
Positive consequences can be used to reinforce good behaviour and motivate team members to continue performing at a high level. For example, an employee who consistently exceeds expectations could be given a promotion or a bonus as a reward for their hard work. Positive consequences recognize good performance and create a positive and productive workplace high performance culture that encourages team members to strive for excellence.
On the other hand, negative consequences must be used sparingly and only as a last resort. When team members fail to meet their commitments or exhibit problematic behaviour, negative consequences are necessary to ensure accountability. However, it's important to note that negative consequences should be fair, consistent, and proportional to the offence.
For example, a team member who consistently misses deadlines despite repeated warnings may need to face consequences such as a no, or low pay increase, demotion, or even termination. However, these consequences should be used as a last resort and only after other measures have been exhausted. Negative consequences should also be communicated clearly in advance so that team members understand the seriousness of their actions and the potential outcomes. It's important to note that consequences should be applied equally and fairly to all team members. Inconsistent or unfair consequences can quickly erode trust and undermine accountability. Leaders must be consistent in their application of consequences and ensure that they are aligned with the values and goals of the business.
Ultimately, consequences are essential in maintaining accountability in business. They provide a clear incentive for team members to meet their commitments and perform at a high level. By communicating consequences clearly and fairly, leaders can create a culture of accountability that fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members.
Leaders' Fear & Hesitation to Holding Team Members Accountable
Despite the importance of holding team members accountable, many leaders hesitate or fear doing so. This can be due to several reasons, including:
Fear of Conflict: Many leaders avoid holding team members accountable because they want to avoid conflict. They may worry that holding team members accountable will damage relationships or cause further interpersonal damage.
Lack of Communication Skills: Some leaders lack the communication skills to hold team members accountable. They may struggle to provide feedback or address issues in a constructive and respectful manner.
Fear of Losing Talent: Some leaders may hesitate to hold team members accountable because they fear losing talent. They may worry that holding team members accountable will lead to high turnover or that team members will become resentful and disengaged.
Fear of Offending: Most commonly, leaders fear they will offend or hurt team members' feelings when trying to create accountability. This fear is a combination of all the above.
How to Move Past These Fears
Fear of Conflict:
1) Develop Conflict Resolution Skills: Leaders can learn conflict resolution skills, such as active listening, empathy, and problem-solving, to handle conflict effectively.
2) Establish Clear Expectations: Leaders can establish clear expectations with team members, including performance standards, goals, and deadlines. This helps avoid misunderstandings and conflict in the future.
3) Provide Constructive Feedback: Leaders can provide constructive feedback, focusing on specific behaviours and actions rather than personality or character. (Future post?)
Lack of Communication Skills:
1) Invest in Communication Training: Leaders can invest in communication training to improve their communication skills, including active listening, effective feedback, and non-verbal communication. Try looking at LinkedIn and Teachable for these types of programs if they are not offered internally at your company.
2) Practice Open Communication: Leaders can practice open communication, including regular check-ins, team meetings, and one-on-one discussions. This helps create a culture of open communication and feedback.
3) Seek Feedback: Leaders can seek feedback from team members on their communication style, including areas for improvement and strengths. Learn how your team best responds to feedback and try to work accordingly when giving difficult feedback.
Fear of Losing Talent:
1) Focus on Development: Leaders can focus on developing team members, including coaching, mentoring, and training. This helps improve performance and increase retention. In fact, providing higher levels of accountability can be an integral part of a retention strategy.
2) Provide Opportunities for Growth: Leaders can provide opportunities for growth, including challenging assignments, cross-functional projects, and skill-building activities. This helps keep team members engaged and motivated. Be sure to only offer such opportunities to deserving team members. If one team member is particularly struggling to meet commitments, adding to their workload with high profile tasks/opportunities will cause more harm than good.
3) Set Clear Expectations: Leaders can set clear expectations with team members, including performance standards, goals, and career paths. This helps team members understand what is expected of them and how they can progress in their careers. In some cases, locating or creating job descriptions outlining such expectations and requirements for the position in question might be helpful.
Fear of Offending:
1) Focus on Behaviours, Not People: Leaders can focus on specific behaviours and actions rather than personality or character. This helps keep the conversation constructive and avoids personal attacks.
2) Emphasize the Positive: Leaders can emphasize the positive, including team members' strengths and contributions. This helps balance constructive feedback with positive reinforcement. Try the two positives and one opportunity approach: Start the meeting with two positives and pointing out where the team member has recently been successful and what specifically did they do that contributed to the successes. Next identify one opportunity for improvement, giving detailed specific examples and being careful to remove any personality or character accusations. Stick to the facts. "Project x was delayed by 3 days with no communication or explanation. Is there something that I don’t know about that caused this to take place?" End the conversation by coming up with a plan of action that meets both parties' expectations and prevents the incident from reoccurring.
3) Create a Safe Space: Leaders can create a safe space for feedback and communication where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. This helps build trust and fosters a culture of open communication. You can do this by providing support, and asking the team member what kind of assistance or help they may need to meet their commitments.
Ways to Enforce Accountability
Understanding the importance of accountability and the different strategies for overcoming anxieties of approaching accountability with your team, it's time to
talk about concrete ways to enforce it. After all, accountability cannot happen if there is no consequence for unaccountability or inactive behaviour. While not all transgressions warrant such drastic results as termination or formal warnings, several proactive approaches remain to "turning up the heat" and holding team members accountable.
1) More Frequent Status Reviews and Check-Ins: Regular status reviews and check-ins provide valuable opportunities for team members to share progress updates and discuss any challenges they are facing. By increasing the frequency of these interactions, leaders can foster accountability and keep a close eye on project advancement. Frequent check-ins also enable timely feedback and corrective actions, allowing the team to address issues before they escalate.
2) Breaking Down Larger Deliverables: Sometimes, complex or lengthy deliverables can lack transparency and accountability. Breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks allows for better tracking of progress and provides more frequent opportunities to assess performance. Regularly reviewing these smaller milestones helps identify potential bottlenecks or areas where additional support may be required. This is a great way to provide support while maintaining accountability.
3) Scheduling Reviews at Less "Popular" Times: Leaders can ensure that team members remain attentive and engaged by scheduling status reviews and meetings at less convenient times, such as early mornings or late afternoons. This approach prompts individuals to take accountability for their time management, encouraging punctuality and focused participation. It also demonstrates the team leader's commitment to fostering accountability throughout the organization.
4) Temporarily Reassigning "Liked" Responsibilities: To address accountability issues, team leaders may consider temporarily reassigning tasks or responsibilities that struggling team members particularly enjoy. This approach can be a powerful motivator for improved performance as individuals realize the consequences of their actions and strive to regain the projects they had previously enjoyed. It also encourages a more balanced distribution of workload and prevents complacency.
5) Removing Perceived Perks until Performance Improves: If team members are consistently underperforming, leaders might temporarily withdraw certain perceived perks, such as the option to work remotely or flexible scheduling. Leaders encourage accountability and a strong work ethic by aligning these privileges with consistent, high-quality performance. However, it is important to communicate clearly the conditions for reinstating these benefits, ensuring that team members understand the expectations and goals they need to meet.
Holding team members accountable is crucial for achieving project success and maintaining a high-performance culture. By implementing strategies such as more frequent status reviews, breaking down deliverables, scheduling reviews at less convenient times, temporarily reassigning responsibilities, and adjusting perceived perks, leaders can effectively turn up the heat and foster a culture of accountability within their teams. These approaches promote individual responsibility and contribute to overall team productivity and success.
Accountability is crucial for effective leadership and business success, but many leaders face various reservations and challenges that hinder them from maintaining it. These include conflict avoidance, communication skills, fear of losing talent, and anxiety about offending team members. Overcoming these concerns requires leaders to approach accountability with empathy, active listening, and a focus on problem-solving rather than blame. Leaders can also invest in communication training and coaching to improve their communication skills, provide regular feedback and coaching to their team members, and create a culture of accountability that promotes individual and organizational growth. Ultimately, having consequences in business is essential to maintain accountability and promote a high performance culture of responsibility and ownership. Leaders must take action when team members fail to meet expectations or violate policies to maintain accountability and ensure the success of the business.
What is high performance leadership?
High performance leadership is a leadership style that is characterized by a focus on achieving exceptional results through effective team building, strategic planning, and strong communication skills. It is a type of leadership that inspires and motivates individuals and teams to work towards common goals and achieve excellence.
High performance leadership is not just about managing a team or getting tasks done. It’s about inspiring people to work together towards a common shared purpose. To create and achieve a high performance team, it’s important to create a common shared purpose for the team that is aligned with the overall organization’s vision and strategy. This common shared purpose should be specific enough that each team member knows how their team contributes to the organization’s vision and their explicit role within the team. When teams understand their purpose and see how their contributions are important, they are more motivated and engaged, resulting in better outcomes and overall success for the organization.
The three high performance leadership essentials for high performance teams
Why is a common shared purpose important?
A common shared purpose is crucial for any high performance team, as it helps align everyone toward the same goal. A team without a common shared purpose is like a ship without a destination. It may have a crew, but without a clear direction, it will drift aimlessly. When everyone understands the purpose and direction of the team, they can work together more efficiently and effectively. A common shared purpose brings the team together, and each member feels part of something bigger than themselves.
“Feels part of something bigger than themselves”
A common shared purpose creates a sense of belonging and commitment to the team. When people feel like they are part of a team working towards a common shared purpose and goal, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. It also helps team members see how their contributions are valuable, and this leads to a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in their work. When individuals see how their work contributes to the greater good, they are more motivated to do their best.
Creating a common shared purpose aligned with the organization’s vision
A common shared purpose must be aligned with the organization’s vision and strategy. The vision is the long-term goal or destination that the organization aims to achieve, while the strategy outlines the approach and actions required to reach that goal. The common shared purpose of the team must fit into this broader vision and strategy, and each team member should understand how their team’s work contributes to achieving this vision.
A common shared purpose should also be specific and measurable. Vague goals such as “improve customer satisfaction” or “increase revenue” are not enough. Instead, the team’s common shared purpose should be more specific, such as “reduce customer complaints by 50%” or “increase revenue by 10% in the next quarter”. Specific goals give the team a clear target to aim for, and it’s easier to measure progress and success.
When creating a common shared purpose, involving the team in the process is important. By involving team members, you can gain their input and feedback, and this creates a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the purpose. When people feel like they have contributed to creating a common shared purpose, they are more likely to be invested in it and work towards achieving it.
How a common shared purpose leads to success and accountability
A common shared purpose provides focus and direction for a high performance team. When everyone knows what they are working towards, it’s easier to prioritize tasks and make decisions that align with the purpose. This helps the team avoid distractions and focus on the important work contributing to the organization’s vision and strategy.
In high performance teams, a common shared purpose creates a sense of accountability. When everyone understands the purpose and their role in achieving it, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and be accountable for their actions. This creates a culture of responsibility and accountability, where everyone is committed to doing their best to achieve the common shared purpose.
A common shared purpose also promotes collaboration and teamwork. When everyone understands their role and how it contributes to the greater goal, there will be more collaboration to achieve success. This creates a culture of teamwork and cooperation, where everyone is working towards the same goal rather than focusing solely on their individual tasks.
How a common shared purpose creates proven competency
A common shared purpose is a powerful driver of proven competency among team members. When everyone on the team is aligned around a common shared purpose, they understand what competencies are necessary to accomplish that goal. This shared understanding and proven competency with each other create a sense of accountability and responsibility among team members, motivating them to develop and improve the skills required to achieve their objectives.
Collaboration is essential in ensuring the team has the proven competencies to become a high performance team. Cross-training is an effective way to develop and improve the proven competencies of team members. When team members work together to share knowledge and skills, they learn from each other's experiences and become more capable of working towards a common shared purpose. Additionally, cross-training helps to build trust among team members, which is essential for effective collaboration. By sharing expertise and supporting each other, team members can work together more efficiently and effectively, creating a positive feedback loop that leads to higher performance and greater success. Ultimately, a common shared purpose and a collaborative approach to building proven competencies are critical components of a high performance team.
A common shared purpose helps create a positive work culture when people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Formula One example of common shared purpose, proven competency, and accountability
An example of high performance leadership and the resulting high performance team that we often reference in our leadership development programs is that of a Formula One racing team. In Formula One racing, every member of the team plays a vital role in achieving the ultimate goal of winning the race or achieving a points goal for the season. One of the most critical teams is the pit crew, who provide the necessary services to the car during pit stops in the fastest time possible.
The pit crew's common shared purpose is to work together seamlessly and efficiently to service the car and get it back on the track as quickly as possible. The pit crew comprises several highly skilled individuals, each with a specific role to play. Some team members are responsible for changing the tires, while others refuel the car, and some adjust the aerodynamics of the car.
In a race where every second counts, the pit crew's ability to provide fast and efficient services is crucial. The time spent in the pits can make the difference between winning and losing the race. As a result, the pit crew must have the proven competency to work with precision and focus on ensuring that the car is serviced correctly and efficiently.
The pit crew's contribution to the team's vision of winning the race cannot be overstated. By providing the necessary services in the shortest time possible, they help minimize the time the car spends in the pits, allowing the driver to get back on the track quickly and maintain a competitive position.
The pit crew's efforts and accountability to each other and the greater team also help improve the driver's confidence and motivation, knowing they have a reliable and efficient team behind them. This can be critical in a race where the slightest mistake can result in a significant setback.
The pit crew plays a vital role in Formula One racing, and their common shared purpose is to provide the necessary services to the car in the fastest time possible. Achieving the overall team’s goal of winning the race or finishing the season with a targeted number of points isn’t entirely within their control or responsibility. However, by clearly understanding their common shared purpose, demonstrating proven competency, and having high accountability to each other and the entire racing team, they are able to expertly do their part in performing the most effective and efficient pit stops that will certainly make a difference in achieving the overall team’s goals.
High performance leadership steps for High performance teams
1. Define a clear mission: In high performance leadership requires leaders to establish a clear and concise mission statement that outlines the team's common shared purpose and objectives. This statement should be communicated effectively to every member of the team and serve as a guiding principle for all decisions and actions.
2. Foster a sense of accountability: In high performance leadership, leaders should encourage team members to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities and to be accountable to each other. They should empower them to make decisions and take actions that align with the team’s mission and common shared purpose.
3. Build a culture of collaboration: In high performance leadership, leaders should foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. They should encourage open communication, trust, and respect among team members and create a safe no blame environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions and learning from mistakes.
4. Provide opportunities for growth: In high performance leadership, leaders should provide opportunities for team members to learn and grow. This can be achieved through training programs, mentoring, or coaching. By investing in their development, leaders show that they value their team members and are committed to their success.
5. Celebrate success: In high performance leadership, leaders should recognize and celebrate team successes. This can be done through public or private recognition, rewards, or incentives. Celebrating success reinforces the importance of the common shared purpose and motivates team members to continue working towards the organization's objectives.
6. Lead by example: High performance leaders must lead by example. They need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours and actions that they expect from their team members. By modelling the values and principles of the organization, leaders can create a culture that reinforces the shared common purpose and inspires everyone to work towards achieving it.
Does the thought of 'spring break' or vacation cause you grief? Taking a vacation is a great way to relax, recharge and rejuvenate, but it can also be a source of stress for some people. Whether it's the preparation for leaving work or the stress of catching up when you return, the whole experience can be overwhelming. It doesn't have to be this way. That's why taking steps to reduce stress before you go on vacation and after you return is important. Here are some things you can do to help! If you've seen them before, it might still be worth a skim through as a reminder.
Just recently, having the opportunity to take a vacation with my family reminded me how stressful a vacation can be, unfortunately. With the official “spring break” quickly approaching, I thought some might find a refresh of a previous article helpful and timely. In today's world of always being connected and the ongoing expectations and demands placed on us in our work lives, it can be difficult for many to get away on vacation easily. Then there is the mess when we return! The result too often is that the week before we leave is high stress, and the week we return is brutal! Then there is the time we are actually off on vacation. Regardless of whether we can disconnect while away, the first few days can be tough as we de-stress from the week before, and then a few days before the end of the vacation, we begin to think of what awaits our return, and the stress and anxiety ramps up.
To help a little, I've refreshed and re-posted some information from previous posts that may help.
Before you go:
Many of us never really leave work while on vacation. Or, don’t leave it long enough to disengage to maximize the many benefits of our vacations and enjoy it!
Here are a few reminders of why it's a good idea to disengage while on vacation:
To sum it up with the adage,
"No one on their deathbed ever said, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office."
Don't wait until then to figure this out!
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Please share your vacation stress reducing tips in the comments!
In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Interruptions can be a significant cause of burnout for team members, leading to decreased productivity and morale. However, in leadership, one of the leader’s primary roles is to “Protect the Core,” or in other words, protect your team from interruptions and burnout. Protect the Core is about shielding your team from interruptions that distract them from focusing on their core priorities or responsibilities. It's about watching out for their well-being. It's a double edged sword actually. An effective leader, protects their core team, and by doing so, protects the core responsibilities of the team at the same time.
Here are ten steps a leader can take to “Protect the Core”:
Ten Steps to protect your team from interruptions and burnout
1. Set clear goals and expectations:
A common mistake a leader can make is to assume that all their team members understand their goals and the expectations of them. Instead, when the team is under pressure or the leader suspects that team members are feeling overwhelmed, they should start by reviewing individual team members’ goals to ensure they are, in fact, the current priority. Often the need to change priorities can go undetected as the team member may be unaware of the priority change. In addition, a review of expectations helps ensure everyone is aligned on what needs to be done and when and what doesn’t. Things can get lost in the shuffle, and tasks that were once important may no longer be necessary and can be stopped, or at the very least, can be paused for some time.
A daily huddle board is a visual management tool used by teams to quickly and easily communicate updates, progress, and issues related to a specific project or process. The board is typically displayed in a common area where all team members can easily access it at any time.
The huddle board usually consists of several sections or columns, each representing a different aspect of the project or process being tracked. These sections may include:
During the daily huddle, team members gather around the board to review progress, identify any issues or blockers, and discuss necessary adjustments or next steps. This brief daily meeting helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. The leader needs to tackle any barriers beyond the team member's control that prevent them from accomplishing their priorities.
Part of a team communication plan should include establishing some guidelines or team code of conduct around when people can be interrupted. Simple visual cues as simple as coloured paper or sticky notes to indicate when someone can be interrupted work very effectively. For example, green paper means ‘come on in’ or open for interruptions; yellow may mean focused work, only interrupt if it cannot wait, and red meaning do not interrupt unless it is an absolute emergency. It is also essential to clearly define what cannot wait and what is an absolute emergency. Another simple example is if someone has their headset on, they should not be interrupted.
Research indicates that humans need a mental break every 90 to 120 minutes. Setting a timer on a cell phone or another electronic prompt effectively reminds you that you need to step away for a few minutes, re-energize, and regroup.
Rather than asking team members if they are keeping busy or even the general how they are doing, ask them if they have adequate time to think and plan. Unfortunately, poor cultural norms sometimes prevent team members from admitting they are overworked or overwhelmed. By asking them if they have adequate time to think and plan, a leader is likely to get a more accurate response to the team members' current workload and state of mind. A leader needs to create a culture and environment where not only will their team tell them they have too much work, but the leader rewards them for doing so. This means the leader has to be intentional about their questions and responses.
A leader should model open communication by being transparent and honest with their team. Share information openly and quickly, and encourage others to do the same. Ensure that all team members are respectful of each other and that everyone's ideas and opinions are valued. When conflicts arise, and they will occur during challenging times, address them quickly and fairly. Encourage team members to work through conflicts together and find solutions.
If remote work is not an option, create a quiet space for team members to work in. This could be a private office or a designated quiet area where team members can focus on their work without distractions. The cafeteria outside break times can often be an ideal place to escape interruptions! Sometimes a change of location can be as good as a rest.
Meetings can be a significant source of interruptions and distractions, leading to burnout. Minimize the number of meetings, and keep them short and focused. Encourage team members to attend only the meetings that are essential for their work. Let them know it’s ok to decline a meeting if it is not essential to their priorities. It is also important to establish what is and is not deemed essential while maintaining respect and professionalism when declining meeting requests.
Implementing a meeting standard duration of 20 or 50 minutes is a great way to improve meeting efficiency and reduce the burden on your team members. Learn more about this in our article Time Saving Tip!
Regularly check in with team members to assess their workload and stress levels. Look for signs of burnout, such as decreased motivation, productivity, and absenteeism. Take action to address burnout when it is identified, such as reducing workload or providing additional support.
Protecting the Core from interruptions and preventing burnout requires a multifaceted approach. However, by following and implementing these ten steps, leaders can create a supportive and productive environment for their team members, significantly reducing the risk of burnout.
You're not alone if you lack even a little leadership confidence. A lack of leadership confidence is very common and is nothing to worry about or be concerned with. However, you do need to develop higher confidence to become a high performing leader.
There are steps you can take to increase your confidence quickly. A lack of leadership confidence shouldn’t be a surprise either, as few leaders receive leadership development before taking on new leadership roles, and their senior level leaders often do not have the bandwidth or don’t make the time to coach and mentor them to the required level.
Here are 10 ways to develop your leadership confidence (click on any method to get more information about it):
Prioritize based on your biggest opportunities and take on only one or two at a time. Add new ones as you become proficient in the prioritized areas. You are likely to notice a change in your confidence very quickly.
Is leadership confidence a concern?
In our article “Concerned? Is there a leadership development crisis?”, we discussed how 77%* of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking and that only 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels! Understanding this, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that many new or less experienced leaders lack leadership confidence.
“77% of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking and that only 5% of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!
From our direct engagement with leaders through our leadership development programs, coaching, and on-site client projects, we have seen an increasing trend of leaders lacking confidence in their approach, response to team member issues, or their own decision making. These leaders exhibit high concern levels of making mistakes and seek assurance that they have done the right thing. The biggest risks we see are in matters that touch upon legal, legislation, and precedence setting.
There is good news here, too, though. We also see that, for the most part, these leaders are definitely on the right track. Rarely do we hear of situations or examples where they have made a mistake and never where they have made irreversible ones. Their asking for feedback also shows their maturity and desire to be the best leaders they can be. Although there is a reason for some concern, we can work with this!
It's not you; it’s us
So what might be driving this? Have new, less experienced leaders always lacked confidence?
Yes, I believe so! Making the jump from an individual contributor to leading others has always been a challenge when leading for the first time. However, I think it is more difficult for leaders today to get the help and support they need. I propose that the leadership development gap that exists in most organizations today may be driving this increasing trend we are seeing. Many leaders receive virtually no leadership development prior to taking on a leadership role but also have less exposure in the form of coaching, observation, and feedback from experienced leaders. Working remotely through COVID also didn’t help in these areas! There is also a lower tolerance in the leaders themselves for making mistakes. They hold themselves to a very high bar.
If you are a leader that lacks leadership confidence, be assured that it’s not you; it’s us! Us in the sense of your organization and experienced leaders who, for various reasons, do not provide the coaching and mentoring you need. Several things distract and detract experienced leaders from providing access and time for new leaders, some legitimate challenges, others not so much. However, we won’t get into those here. Also, know that although you may think only you feel this way, you are not alone.
10 Ways to develop your leadership confidence
1 Active & Healthy Professional Network
Often people consider a professional network as a way to find their next job opportunity. If this is you, you are missing so much! Having an active and healthy network is a must for any leader at all levels. This network and the resulting relationships can be used to share best practices, obtain input and feedback, bounce ideas off, and learn from each other. An active professional network takes time and energy. It should be built before ever seeking new opportunities.
Active means that you spend some time growing and nurturing your network. This does not include accepting any and all requests to connect on LinkedIn. It means maintaining and developing new professional contacts via LinkedIn, periodic 1:1s within your organization, lunches or dinners with past colleagues, and socializing at community or external business functions.
A healthy network flows both to and away from you, where you regularly support others, and they support you. You need to make the effort to respond and spend time with those in your network to help and support them when they need it. As well as not hesitate to reach out and ask them for support or assistance you could use. This is a form of mutual respect and is very rewarding. Your experience potential is greatly magnified as you have much more experience at your fingertips. Not only will you benefit from this experience, but your confidence will go up once you see that you have great experiences and that others have similar challenges.
2 Get a Leadership Coach
When taking up a new sport, we wouldn’t think of not getting some form of coaching. So why do we think we can get a leadership position and not benefit from having a coach?
Good coaching helps us learn quicker, determine the best ways of doing things, and challenge us to do more than we think we are capable of achieving. A coach does not tell us what we should do or how to do it but rather helps us solve our own challenges by asking probing questions and supporting us along the way. Coaches provide a safe environment to share your insecurities and admit your challenges and self-doubt. Having a coach can be a great confidence booster as they help you figure things out yourself.
3 Accept ambiguity in decision making
Typically, there is no right or wrong answer when making decisions. There are bad, better, and good decisions, but not right or wrong. A leader needs to gather the data or facts, solicit input and opinions, and make informed decisions in real time. Not making, excessive debate, or extended delays in making decisions are usually regrettable. We need to make informed decisions with the best information we have at the time and accept that there is always ambiguity in decision making.
4 Open vs closed door decisions
At Amazon, we were taught that there are open and closed door decisions. This was a concept to help leaders make faster decisions and to differentiate that all decisions are not the same and therefore require different levels of consideration in the decision making process.
Open door decisions are those that, once made (you walk through the decision door) can be reversed or changed without any significant difficulty or long term impact. In other words, the door remains open, and you can walk back through it again.
Closed door decisions are those that, once made, cannot be reversed or changed without significant difficulty or long lasting impact.
So then with open door decisions, you can make faster decisions and take more risks with ambiguity. For closed door decisions, you want to be more thorough, involve more stakeholders, conduct trials/pilots, check data/fact, gather more input, and conduct risk assessments, to mention a few. At the same time, recognize there remains some ambiguity.
5 Make values based decisions
Decisions that align or are based on your and your organization’s values are generally good decisions. This is not to say they are easy. Quite the opposite, actually. Often in these types of situations, there are equal but opposite forces at work that can make the decision process very painful. Staying true to values usually proves beneficial when considering and thinking long term. Decisions that go against your values often consider the immediate or short term and can lead to ethical, legal, and cultural impacts on you as the leader and the organization, not to mention a loss of trust and respect.
6 Ask for forgiveness, not permission
It may not be at a conscious level, but when we ask for permission, it lowers our confidence. What if the person doesn’t agree? What will they think of me? What will I do if they don’t agree?
Sure, a little bit of security comes with asking permission as you relieve yourself of some of the accountability. However, long term and continual seeking of permission reduces your ability to make your own decisions and, frankly, does not reflect well on you as a leader. Senior leaders want and expect the leaders below them to make their own decisions.
7 Failure is an option
Yes, failure is an option. Don’t be so afraid of making a mistake that you don’t make a decision or get into the habit of second guessing yourself.
We must accept that we won’t get it right or perfect every time. That’s what we mean here by failure. However, we seldom really fail, either. As long as we make the best decisions with the information available and learn from any mistakes, it’s not a failure! So, get over yourself and your fear of failure! Very few “mistakes” are really failures. Learn and move on.
The only critical failure is if someone gets hurt (or worse) or it’s a closed door decision that goes badly. There are not that many closed door decisions to be made for most leaders, and you’ll handle them a little differently when you do have to make them, as described in point number 4 above.
8 Be the leader you wish you had
This is a great Simon Sinek quote. If you’re struggling with a decision or situation involving your team or a team member, think of this quote, "Be the leader you wish you had." How would you wish or expect your leader to handle it if you weren’t the leader and were on the other side of a situation? That’s probably the best option! This is applicable to how you may handle situations, decisions to make, or actions to take or not take. It’s a simple but effective way to help you think through different situations.
9 Project confidence
First, we’re not advocating becoming arrogant and strutting around as though you know everything. What this means is don’t be a self-doubter. People can sense it, which can impact your reputation, but more so, it again lowers your self-esteem over time.
When I was leading a large and company wide project of significance, I had developed a habit of openly sharing all the problems we were facing in the project at the expense of not mentioning what was going well. I intended to be transparent and expected everything to go as planned, which clearly wasn’t. One day a senior leader asked me how things were going. I quickly rhymed off multiple problems I was dealing with. She then asked me if any of the issues were beyond my ability to resolve. I assured her that I was very capable of taking care of them. At that point, she gave me some advice I have practiced ever since. She told me that it was my job to resolve any issues that arose and that I was expected to do so. I should, without hesitation, escalate if there were any I needed help with. However, telling everyone about every problem that was being experienced would erode the confidence in the project and in me as the leader of it. What I should do was celebrate the wins and manage the misses unless I needed help. Just by doing this, my confidence increased dramatically, as I’m sure the confidence others had in me did as well.
10 Celebrate wins
Make the effort to recognize and celebrate YOUR wins. I’m not necessarily referring to your team’s wins, although I’m not excluding them. It’s important to frequently reflect on your personal wins and determine what you did that led to a successful outcome. These are the things you want to repeat or perhaps double down on the next time. Also, reflecting on the wins may highlight that you have done some good things you may otherwise have overlooked, building your leadership confidence.
Don’t start working on all 10 of these confidence boosters simultaneously. Review them and prioritize based on where you have the biggest opportunities. Tackle one or two at a time. Review your progress at least weekly for what’s working or not working, adjust your actions accordingly, and recognize your progress. As you become proficient in one of the boosters, take on another. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your confidence increases. Don’t forget to enjoy and have fun along the way!
Leave a comment on what ways you use or have used to develop your leadership confidence!
* 25 Surprising Leadership Statistics (2022)
The start of the new year is a temporal landmark. Temporal landmarks allow us to reset and have a fresh start. This is an excellent time to establish goals for yourself.
A big part of the success of achieving goals is our level of personal motivation. There are two types of goals: ‘want to’ – goals that we deem are important to us and ‘have to’ – a goal someone else requires or expects. The level of motivation is much higher for ‘want to’ goals as it fits into our values and identity and is essential to us. With a ‘want to’ goal, you will be more conscious of the obstacles to achieving the goal and stay away from them.
Many consider training a ‘have to’ goal as they feel the company mandates it. For example, you may have received training on Leader Standardized Work (LSW). A tactic for providing a better focus on ‘have to’ goals is trying to reframe the training, so it better fits your values and identity. For example, maybe one of your values is being a conscientious leader. Executing the elements on your LSW may help you support this value. Another strategy is to pair it with something more enjoyable, such as setting out an LSW task to engage more with your team members. Finally, replace the goal of implementing LSW with something more meaningful for yourself that may accomplish the same. For example, you still follow the LSW format but use one of your LSW tasks to support a personal goal.
Please let me know what you think.
Leadership development is not just about taking a course or reading the latest business book. Although they are essential components of leadership development, more is needed to result in a better return on investment and a more sustained impact for the leader. Effective leadership development combines concept learning opportunities with immediate application in the real world, integrated with internal mentoring to align expectations and build organizational culture and coaching to develop leader confidence quickly.
Should you be concerned about leadership development? Yes, from at least two points of view. First, is leadership development a priority in your organization or just when there is time? Second, is there a structured and integrated leadership development approach and methodology, or is it a free for all? If leadership development in your organization happens just when there is time or is a free for all, then perhaps it’s cause for concern and a call to action to be more intentional about your leadership development. Is there a crisis? Yes, because there are more leadership positions opening than organizations are able to fill due to a void of prepared and experienced leaders.
An effective leadership development program should contain these 4 components:
Are you concerned about your leadership development or that of those within your organization?
Recent retirement trends are leaving a significant leadership gap in many organizations. At the same time, many up-and-coming leaders are concerned that they are not getting the leadership development they need to be successful leaders or to be prepared for these opening positions.
In addition, although leadership development programs are available in abundance, many are not aligned with the organization’s culture, don’t help the leaders apply what they learn within their day-to-day responsibilities, and, as a result, lack sustained impact on the leader and the organization.
So, if you are not concerned, you should be!
The Scary Truth
A shocking 77%* of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking. 83%* say leadership development at all levels of their organization is a priority. However, the scary part is that less than 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!
“Less than 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!
With senior-level and the most experienced leaders retiring from the workforce in high numbers, 50%* of companies state they lack the leadership talent they need. 47%* predict a shortage of leadership skills in the near future!
“47%* predict a shortage of leadership skills in the near future!
Although this needs to be a concern for organizations and senior leaders, this is an excellent opportunity for new and upcoming leaders! Although we don't need another crisis, we are facing a leadership development crisis, nonetheless.
How We Got Here
The result of slowed population growth in the decades following the "baby boomers" is that there is a smaller leadership pool to draw upon for these needed leaders. It also means that leaders are being promoted at a younger age and advancing through the leadership ranks faster and sooner than their predecessors. This in itself is not necessarily a concern or a bad thing. However, these developing leaders must have the skillsets and knowledge to be effective leaders, gain influence, and drive positive impact across their organizations. Unlike their predecessors, many of these leaders typically desire and need more mentoring and coaching than they currently receive to gain experience and increase their confidence.
There is a path forward by having an integrated and intentional approach to leadership development.
4 Leadership Development Components
4 critical components must be integrated and intentional to result in effective leadership development. Those 4 components are cultural alignment, applicable skills & tools, internal mentorship, and external coaching. Let’s take a closer look at each component.
1 Cultural Alignment
Any leadership development program must be aligned with the organization's culture, meaning that the program reinforces the company’s values, methodology and approach to leadership, as opposed to being abstract to or does not emphasize these attributes in the leadership development program. For example, if the organization’s culture is one of continuous improvement through team member engagement, aligning to a leadership development program that applies this thinking and provides concepts and practical skills that can be directly used in this culture is critical.
Unlike specific skills training such as accounting or excel macro coding, for example, leadership development programs need to be aligned to the culture because the demonstrated leadership either positively or negatively impacts the realization of the organization’s vision, mission, and values through the engagement of their team members.
In addition, leadership development programs should have progressive and aligned development for leaders at all levels of the organization. Progressive in the sense of continued development building on previously developed skills to prepare them for advancing their career and being capable and confident to take on a larger scope of responsibilities. In doing so, a common leadership language and approach is created throughout the organization providing stability and consistent leadership. This intentionality then provides a known and defined career development path for leaders throughout all levels of the organization. As a result, defined leadership development can be easily integrated with organizational performance reviews or talent development programs that provide clear leadership development paths and a structured approach versus haphazard or random.
2 Applicable Skills & Tools
Leadership development programs no doubt provide great insights into proven management theory; however, organizations and leaders need and want practical concepts that they can apply to improve leadership and have a positive impact immediately. A failure of many leadership development programs is that there is too much focus on interesting management theories but often lack how to execute or apply these theories in the workplace. This is a significant cause of leaders returning from great-sounding leadership development programs, but little impact is observed or sustained long term.
Scrutiny of the leadership development program curriculum is an essential first step. Ensuring that the topics covered are very closely aligned with the practical skills necessary for the intended leaders to be successful and have an impact is essential. The upskills learned must be immediately applied within their current responsibilities or in the near term. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. In this case, it’s more about creating the desired leadership approach and habits.
“Practice makes perfect!”
As important as the curriculum is, it is equally essential that the leadership development program is designed to provide the leader with immersive learning opportunities. In other words, real examples, case studies, practical exercises, and immediate application through work-related assignments and projects. This approach again helps the leaders apply what they have learned and realize immediate benefits, which provides a reward and pull to continue to use them. It then causes a shift from learning to doing. Most people learn more effectively by doing.
3 Internal Mentorship
Another common failure mode in leadership development is that it should be discussed again after the leader obtains approval to attend or is asked to attend. Often this is not the case. Leaders are left with a feeling of “so what” and wonder if they wasted their time. The organization risks a poor return on investment as there is no check and balance to ensure a positive impact for the leader and the organization, let alone if the leader even attended!
Leadership development programs that include an internal mentor develop relationships, improve the alignment of cultural values throughout the leadership levels, sustain a common leadership language and approach, and improve impact and sustained results.
Mentorships accelerate the leader’s application and use of the skills and tools through encouragement and reinforcement of use within the organization. The mentor’s experience can assist the leader in overcoming barriers and challenges they face with a mutual understanding of the circumstances and environment.
An added benefit of an internal mentorship program is that the mentor also learns significantly from the experience. Discussing the skills and tools with the leader refreshes and reinforces the approaches with the mentor and deepens their understanding simultaneously. Mentoring is also an enriching experience for the mentor, driving higher engagement and satisfaction levels.
4 External Coaching
Additional coaching from an experienced leadership coach increases the leader’s self-awareness and builds confidence.
Today’s upcoming leaders need and desire more coaching than they currently receive. Many leaders state they are not getting enough coaching from within their organizations. There are several benefits of an external coach.
In our coaching, we are experiencing that leaders need to bounce ideas and thoughts off of someone, require some assurance that their approach is on the right path, and seek a safe environment to do so.
Leaders are running at an incredible pace these days. Many are not giving themselves the time to adequately think through their challenges and develop an intentional approach to moving forward. The feedback we consistently hear is that coaching provides the leader with a structure that almost forces them to stop and think at a deeper level before acting. Without structured coaching, they tend to fire-ready-aim more often than not. In other words, their leadership or decision-making is not very intentional.
“Fire --> Ready --> Aim
Many leaders lack self-confidence in themselves and are concerned about making a mistake. We find that the leaders are on the right track but need some assurance. External coaching can accelerate the leader’s confidence building by helping the leader think through what options they have and which are better than others. Confidence is built because the leaders develop the options and make the decisions on their own. The coach challenges them with questioning to help along the process.
External coaching provides the leader with a safe environment that is confidential and disconnected from the organization. Coaching conversations with an external coach are confidential and not shared with anyone. This allows the leader to be vulnerable and self-critical without fear of repercussions. Being able and comfortable with being vulnerable, leaders can more readily identify their concerns and barriers and develop approaches that work for them to face and overcome them quickly.
There is a massive void in leadership right in front of us. It’s already here!
Individual leaders must invest more time and effort in their development. Take the lead, don’t wait for someone else or their organization to do so. “I’m too busy right now” is a common excuse. Guess what? You will always be too busy. No one should care more about your leadership development than you! No one! If you do not invest in your development, you will not advance or achieve your full capability. Others will find time, and you will be left behind. Achieve your career aspirations and grow to your full potential. Take action today to intentionally determine your leadership development next steps!
Organizations are facing a significant challenge. Leaders don’t just appear, and you can’t just hire them. Not anymore. You must be growing and developing them. Leadership development is a significant investment in all forms of resources. Take action today by creating a leadership development program approach that includes the 4 critical components discussed!
* 25 Surprising Leadership Statistics (2022)
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