Monday, April 4, 2016
As a speaker and a consultant, He travels all over the country facilitating leadership development programs. One of the first questions He asks in his program is, "how many people have reported to a bad manager in their career?" Unfortunately (and He would even argue predictably) usually about 90 percent of the people in the room raise their hand. Why is that? Because He believes that most companies make massive mistakes when it comes to how they handle leadership development in their organizations. He sees it at every size company, in the world of nonprofit and in government agencies. Here are the biggest mistakes He sees companies make and how to solve them.
Mistake No. 1: They support people who have technical competency and they assume they have leadership skills. I see so many organizations who support a person because they were good at their job. They were good at IT, so companies assume that they will also make a good IT manager. Why do they do that? It is such a crazy presumption because the skills required to do the job are nowhere near the same skills needed to lead and manage people. Of course the person who got promoted will not admit that they don't know, they will just do the best they can and they will either sink or swim. Sadly, far too often they sink.
Solution: Don't suppose people know how to lead. Provide coaching and development for all new managers to teach them how to lead productively.
Mistake No. 2: We let senior leaders get away with not committing to their own development. When I conduct leadership programs, the people running the programs almost always inform me that the Vice Presidents in the company will not be joining the program. When I asked why, they tell me in a very frustrated tone that the senior leaders don't believe that they need additional leadership development, and they are just too busy. I have found that some people in senior leadership roles can create massive egos and don't believe they need to boost or grow. Wrong! This is also an example of terrible leadership role modeling. Senior leaders insist that their managers go to leadership training, but they don't go themselves. In one program that I conducted, a very savvy CEO took the training as a student in order to demonstrate how crucial it was to commit to leadership development.
Solution: The CEO of the company should require that every person in a leadership or management role should commit to leadership development every year. It should be a requirement, not an option.
Mistake No. 3: There are no examinations or testing of leadership skills and abilities. Many times when I talk to clients who want to do leadership development, they have already selected a list of topics that they want to cover. When I ask how these topics were selected, they say they got together with the group and decided what it was that people needed. My question to that is always "how do you know?" In my opinion you can't do efficient leadership development unless you assess where people are in their skill sets. How do you know what they need unless you test their knowledge skills and abilities?
Solution: Put into place efficient data driven leadership assessments, so the training can be tailored to exactly what it is that people need, not what the company thinks they need.
Mistake No. 4: Not willing to commit the time for leadership development. Many times in organizations people tell me that they would like to attend my leadership development program, but they can't. When I ask why, they tell me that they are too busy, and their manager will not let them attend the program because there's too much work to be done. This is a very shortsighted strategy, and it is also a vicious cycle. The person in a leadership role is working very hard and because they're working very hard they're not able to go to the leadership development program. Because they're not getting leadership development they're not getting better at what they do and have a hard time increasing their performance or effectiveness as a leader.
Solution: If we want people to be effective leaders, no matter how busy they are, we have to invest time for their leadership development.
Mistake No. 5: Assuming that leadership development is an event and not a process. I often find it hilarious when companies send their leaders to one day leadership development training programs. The company is expecting that leader will learn and apply new skills from the program. But the reality is learning should not be an event, it should be a process and often that is where the training fails, because there is no system.
Solution: When conducting leadership development programs there needs to be pre-assignments, the class itself, and then comprehensive follow-up processes to make sure that they apply what they understood.
Mistake No. 6: The managers are not dedicated to their direct report's development. I often hear a sad story from someone in my leadership program, who went back the next day to work, and had their manager completely ignore the fact that they attended class. They don't ask how class went, they don't ask what they learned, they don't do any follow-up whatsoever because they are so busy doing the work. When people that are in the leadership program try to apply their action plans, the manager tells them that they don't have the time and they need to get back to work. It is impossible for a leader to develop effectively if they don't get support from the person that they report to and worse, actually get resistance from them. This sends a terrible message program because it tells them that it's really not important.
Solution: Make sure that when your company does leadership development, it involves not only the people who are in the class, but the people who they report to because they are an integral part of the entire process.
Take a hard look at your organization, and ask yourself-- are you dedicating any of these mistakes in developing your leaders? Some simple course corrections can make the difference between highly effective leaders those who aren't. The decision is yours.
Autor: Shawn Doyle
Friday, April 1, 2016
You've received conduct appraisals from your boss, but have you ever considered obtaining 360-degree feedback? If you haven't, it can be a good way to find out the perceptions others hold of you and can provide interesting information on areas for enhancement.
360-Degree Feedback Defined
The typical feedback method most people are familiar with is top-down feedback from management. 360-degree feedback is different in that it obtains performance and behavior opinions from people located all around you, from your manager to your colleague to subordinates. Subordinates could be those who report directly to you or people who, say, worked on a project team that you led. 360-degree feedback is generally used as a developmental tool, with the feedback provided anonymously and consolidated into an overall report.
Why You Should Get A Consultation
The idea is to obtain a full circle of feedback from people all around you, so you can gain a better knowing of how people identify you and how your behavior affects others. The feedback you receive can help you determine if your perception of yourself is similar to or different from the perception others hold of you. It can help you learn things about yourself that you might not have known and provide insights that allow you to adjust certain conducts. You can use the information and insights as you create (or update) your personal development plan.
An Example Of Employing The Feedback
"Bob" was a marketing manager who aspired to move into a people managing role. As part of his career development, he signed up for a training course that included an online 360-degree assessment. Bob had envisioned himself as a knowledgeable employee whom others liked and sought out to take part on project teams.
However, the assessment results showed Bob that others recognized him differently from his perception of himself. A majority of the feedback deemed Bob to be so analytical and detail-oriented that he often lost sight of the big picture and the end goals of projects. Feedback cited situations of Bob's highly analytical style causing team arguments and delaying projects, due to his inability to make decisions. While others valued him for being highly knowledgeable, their perceptions were that Bob tended to devalue the contributions of others, to the point of being disrespectful in meetings by interrupting and even speaking over others when they were trying to talk.
From this feedback, Bob realized that his perception of his behavior didn't match the perception of those around him. Armed with this information, he was able to create a career development plan that included actions to help him better facilitate meetings, training on different social styles and how to better flex his style to others, and the expertise and skills he would need to be able to demonstrate to move properly into a people management role.
Who To Choose To Deliver Feedback
My suggestion is to choose a variety of people, from current and former co-workers to current and former assistants, and even current and former managers. Don't play it safe by choosing only people who know and love you. Your goal is to obtain feedback that you can then use to work on your career growth and development, so choose people who are some of your biggest critics-- that's what I like to do. By choosing some of my biggest critics, I obtain knowledge on how these people perceive me, making it more transparent for me to see where I stand with them. I then use the information to establish areas for enhancement and on ways I might be able to change their perception of me, if it's needed.
If your company doesn't have a leadership program that includes a 360-degree assessment, one of the best things you can do is what "Bob" did-- sign up for an external development course that includes the assessment as part of the program. For example, Franklin Covey currently includes 360-degree assessments in three of their development programs:
- 7 Habits Benchmark: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Program
- tQ (Trust Quotient): Leading at the Speed of Trust
- LQ (Leadership Quotient): Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results
Before you sign up for a development program, check with your manager to see if he or she has any money in the budget for training expenses. In some companies, a certain budget amount is allocated each year to training activities, so you might be able to gain permission to expense part or even all of the program cost.
How To Obtain A 360-Degree Assessment
Check with your HR organization about enrollment in an internal leadership development program that includes a 360-degree feedback survey, support in being aware of the feedback, as well as how to use it as input into your career development plan.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
At a recent leadership summit held at Twitter with 100 of our top global leaders, their agenda was to talk about our tactical path and get straightened as a leadership team. Then, the day before the summit, news leaked of several executive departures. The context of their discussions had shifted.
You've surely experienced such circumstance shifts as a leader yourself. Over the last 10 years we've seen the command-and-control style of leadership give way to a flatter, more collaborative approach. I'm now seeing another shift happening-- to more and more debate of contextual leadership. As Tony Mayo, director of the Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School, has put it, "Success in the 21st century will require leaders to pay attention to the evolving context" a business is operating in. Contextual leaders facilitate adapting to transform by helping their people understand the nature of new challenges and opportunities and how to address them in the moment.
Why are we hearing more and more about the importance of "context" now? One reason is that the context around us seems to be shifting more rapidly, due in part to major technological shifts. This means more of us are operating in more contexts, more of the time. To take a simple example, when you're in touch with your colleagues on Slack or Google Hangouts outside of normal work hours, you're operating in multiple contexts-- "work" and "personal"-- at once. At work alone, though, contexts have grown rapidly and shifted as well. For instance, more of us work with more people, as technology has opened up collaboration to more people, departments, and business units. More of us work on cross-functional teams or across time zones. A 2014 research study by CEB showed that 60 % of people coordinate with at least 10 people daily in their work.
This means that leaders have to be aware of all these contexts-- and more-- as they try to move projects forward. For example, at Twitter we wanted to transform our feedback and talent management processes, and we wanted to involve cross-functional teams from all across the company, including designers, engineers, and data scientists. Despite being in different buildings, different time zones, and even different countries, everyone always knew the project status, which decisions were open, and when we 'd reached milestones. That's an accomplishment of contextual leadership, as well as smart use of technology tools.
To help develop a workforce's contextual leadership skills, those of us responsible for training and developing our firms' next leaders have to think a little differently about learning. Organizational learning has to become less about the kind of learning done in a training session or online tutorial and more about continuous learning on the job. That means creating a work environment that supports and encourages learning, one that's less about individuals learning new skills on their own, and more about using their environment to learn and learning from one another.
Done right, this kind of learning teaches employees new skills and results in knowledge being shared across the company. Perhaps even more importantly, it also satisfies the deep desire expressed by so many employees to be part of something bigger. In the past, people I managed preferred to focus their time and energy on work they could take sole ownership of; now people emphasize their desire to work on projects that they can see will make a significant difference-- for their own growth and for the company's.
Once the context shifted at our summit, we could have carried on with the agenda as planned, but we instead chose to address the departures and all the issues they raised. The conversations that ensued were more candid than any I 'd experienced in my career. We directly addressed the challenges of the new situation, engaging in healthy debate that balanced, as one leader put it, "optimism with sober reality." At the end of the two days, we were aligned around a clear set of priorities and were inspired about our future. We were also better prepared to provide context to our teams about the challenges and opportunities ahead and to inspire them in turn.
Technology tools are evolving, and the way we work and learn must also grow. People's desire for more inclusion and agency and the increasingly rapid evolution of the business landscape both require that we find ways to create more collaborative teams, help with richer, more continuous learning, and involve all employees in their quest to adapt and seize the abundant chances our fast-changing world offers.