Good leaders are followed primarily because people trust and respect them. Trust is more important than their skills. Leadership is about behaviour first, skills second. Good leaders enable people to align their personal needs with those are the organisation. They listen well, and serve those they lead in helping them develop and follow an inspiring agenda, rather than coercing them to follow the leader’s own agenda.
The challenge in developing leaders is to help them identify and adopt behaviours that will create trust and respect, some of which the individual may already have (but not recognise) and others they need to learn. Learning these behaviours can take years through simple on-the-job exposure, especially if the range of leaders you are exposed to is limited in quality and numbers.
However, experiential learning can accelerate the process a great deal.
To learn new behaviours, people need to be exposed to examples and counter-examples of the desired behaviours, so they can witness, understand and recognise them. They need to practise using the behaviours in a relevant and realistic context, and above all they need feedback on how their actions are perceived by others, since our own perception of our actions is often wildly different from the perceptions of others, especially at those crucial times when we are under stress. Given the opportunity to practise leadership under stress, and get effective, immediate feedback, we have seen many people develop their leadership skills very rapidly, and with lasting impact.
As one client CEO said, “I can tell which of my people have been on that leadership course, just by observing them at work.”
The need to personally discover and or witness your leadership style and those of others, is true irrespective of the leadership competencies the company may have, or the leadership models and philosophies it subscribes to or aspires to.
ProfitAbility helps many companies with their leadership development programmes, in a variety of ways. With some, we provide simulation based experiential learning to fit within an existing, wider curriculum of leadership development, which includes elements of theory, detailed exposure to the company’s leadership competency model, and discussions with leaders from different parts of the company. With others, we provide a complete package, built to suit the company’s specific needs. We provide a range of experiential inputs which may include leadership, communication, team building, financial and business acumen, change management and mindset. This approach enables people to see the impact of their behaviours both on those around them, and on business results. It is a way of growing leaders that fit the company’s needs and ambitions, and helps the individuals develop in ways consistent with their personal values and leadership styles.