Thursday, April 25, 2013

7 leadership development trends for a stronger bottom line

Business leaders looking for meaningful growth are all about investing in their people to cultivate an engaged workforce, and ultimately, achieve higher sales and a stronger bottom line. Here are seven trends we’re watching:

  1. Uncertainty is the new normal. Organizations are launching more change initiatives than ever – as many as five per year, on average. However, the increased uncertainty among companies may be preventing these changes from sticking. Research has found that twice as many business leaders say “the ability to lead change” is a key challenge.
  2. The management talent shortage is intensifying. For business leaders, the top concern during the next few years is the talent shortage. Don’t expect to be able to hire fully capable managers from outside. Instead, hire promising talent early and invest in their training and retention. Look for emerging leaders and, again, invest in them.
  3. First-line leaders matter. First-line leaders make up 50-60 percent of management. They are the linchpin in strategy execution, customer satisfaction and employee engagement. They are the last stop for communicating strategy and enabling employee success. In order to keep up with competitors, invest at least one-third of your total leadership development budget in your first-line leaders. Your bottom line will thank you.
  4. Organizations that focus on people-leadership practices will reap rewards. Research has shown that the ability to lead people effectively is about three times more important to a leader’s career success than other skills and knowledge. In fact, thinking like a leader, coaching your team, gaining results through others and engaging people are the four most critical people-leadership skills. Businesses must ensure that all leaders, and especially first-line leaders, are trained in these four critical practices.
  5. Employee engagement will continue to be a key concern. Organizations with engaged workforces have significantly lower absenteeism, turnover and safety incidents, according to Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace,” while productivity and profitability are much higher. Having an engaged workforce is a huge market advantage. Leaders need to know the factors that contribute to their team’s engagement.
  6. Leadership is becoming more collective. Leadership during the past 50 years has been about the individual. However, in the last 15 years, this model has become less effective and has transitioned to being more collaborative. Organizations must create multilevel leadership development systems and ensure steadiness between levels of consistent competencies, concepts, language and themes.
  7. Boot-camp training is out. A recent survey of 700 leaders worldwide found that 91 percent of respondents feel they have too much work on their plate. Seventy-five percent said they have “little or no” capacity to “do more with less.” When it comes to education, it’s time to give learners a break – boot camp-style learning is out. Workers are tired and “pedal-to-the-metal” training will only make them more tired. Learning needs to be practical and challenging, but also include chances for team bonding and laughter, quiet time and reflection, free-wheeling discussions with colleagues and a bit of surprise and adventure.

If organizations can implement these trends into their initiatives, they’ll achieve an even more productive year.

Source: wrote by Jocelyn Davis

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why Leadership & Team-Development Programs Fail

Research shows that most development programs fail to deliver expected returns. Here, experts offer tips to master the real drivers of behavior for sustainable change.

Every organization wants to maximize the potential of their leaders and employees in order to achieve superior results. In fact, significant investments are made in programs that aim to improve performance by changing the way leaders, employees or teams behave. However, research shows that most development programs fail to deliver expected returns. Too often, there is more effort put into the design of the program, instead of what people need to experience in order to develop. If executives understood the mechanics of the mind and what it takes to create sustainable behavioral change, they would rethink their approaches to leadership and employee development and challenge their current beliefs about how behavioral change actually happens. 

We now know so much about how the brain learns and how people develop. Recent advances in neuroscience are highlighting connections between cognitive and emotional functions that have the potential to revolutionize the way we develop our leaders and employees. In particular, the relationship between learning and emotion and what needs to happen in the brain for learning and behavioral change to take place. Those who are developing leadership and team development programs don’t always incorporate these advances in their approaches being. 

The following are the key reasons why most leadership- and team-development programs fail:



Personality assessments are often used in developmental programs to help leaders and team members to increase their self-awareness. However, existing approaches focus on strengths/weaknesses or preferences, leaving out insight into unconscious patterns of behavior and emotions that typically get in the way of development, despite everyone’s best intentions.  For leaders or employees to develop, they must understand how this happens for them by being aware of their nature, emotions, and how their brain is organized. This allows them to know how they process information and what gets in the way -- fear, embarrassment, etc. -- of trying new behaviors and shifting from unproductive reactions to other people and work situations.

Read complete at: wrote by Anne Dranitsaris and Heather Hilliard

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