Great leaders can make or break a company. They inspire, motivate, work with and coach others to achieve common goals or they do the complete opposite.
To be successful in their role, leaders need to have tools and resources made available to them to develop. After all, people aren't necessarily born with leadership traits. Gallup's State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders report found that great leaders share five attributes:
- They motivate employees.
- They are assertive when faced with challenges.
- They create a culture of accountability.
- They are good at creating trusting relationships.
- They make decisions for the good of their team and company after careful thought and planning.
The same report found that only one in 10 people have all five leadership traits. This tells us there's clearly an opportunity for organizations to get ahead of the curve and develop the strength of its leaders.
We asked a few of our customers what development activities and programs they use to develop great leaders. Here's what they had to say!
1. Create a leadership engagement program
"Our Learning Engagement department built a new supervisor learning experience that completely orients any new supervisor we bring on board. The training allows us to show new leaders where all of our supervisor training material is and fosters constant interaction with both their staff and peers at the leadership level."
Special Assistant to HR
Richland County Public Library
2. Start a book club
"We recently started a leadership book club and one-third of the leaders volunteered to participate. All 22 leaders participated in the first session held during the lunch hour. The hour went by quickly and the conversation was engaging and action oriented. Originally, the plan was to meet once a month, but now the group wants to meet every three weeks because they see how powerful this group can be. As the training leader, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing leaders volunteer to be a part of learning activities. The group has developed action items that they as a group will work on individually with their teams and together to change thought processes and behaviors within the organization."
Director Learning & Development
Swope Health Services
3. Partner with a local college or university
"We have a powerful leadership program that is jointly run with a local college. It requires all supervisors/leaders to complete this course. The program combines online and in-class training which takes place over the course of a year. It's a great tool for leaders to learn and also to get to know other leaders from parts of the organization. This cross-functional learning environment has been a great way to determine leadership potential for future senior management."
Halogen TalentSpace reader
4. Target your high potential leaders
"We conduct leadership assessments for our high potential talent to determine their leadership strengths, areas to develop, and how ready they are for the next leadership opportunity. Based on the assessment, we identify internal projects, development opportunities, mentorship opportunities or other training to help them develop additional skills. We use internal and external coaches depending on position to supplement the awareness and growth of these future leaders. The result is a much more focused approach to leadership development. We have a much clearer picture of our talent pipeline and the timeframe which it may take a HiPo to be ready for an opportunity. It has also helped us to prioritize who should be provided certain project or team opportunities based on the development."
Bonnie Van Epps
Director of Talent Development
First Business Financial Services
5. Employ more than one tactic
"We have an extensive and multi-pronged approach to leadership development including a new leader onboarding program, coaching programs, leadership courses, succession planning and leadership development reference material. In the last two years, the focus on leadership development and enhanced screening processes has seen a two percent overall reduction in turnover across the organization."
Kristina Paule Ocampo
First West Credit Union
Start developing great leaders today
There are many different ways to structure a leadership development program. But, the bottom line remains: Everyone wants to work for a great leader. Employees want to be treated with respect, compassion, and understanding. They also want to know that their work matters and want to be recognized for their efforts.
To be able to do this, frontline managers need development in key leadership skills to be able to understand their employees as individuals and help them succeed based on their own values, motivations, learning styles and preferred working conditions.
Being a great leader isn't just going to happen. It takes work and the responsibility is split two ways. It's up to organizations to present leaders with opportunities to develop key competencies. Then, it's up to leaders to take any and all opportunities made available and make the most out of them.