There are countless leadership philosophies and development programs these days. I see many organizations that invest in programs, especially the large programs, that train mangers and mid-level leaders on becoming better leaders. What baffles me, and disappoints me is the misguided reasoning for engaging in these programs. I am a huge advocate of developing leaders, and having a philosophy, or program to subscribe to. Where many businesses and organizations are misguided is that these programs mean nothing if the top level leadership, the business owners, C-suite executives, etc. are not aligned with whatever program they have invested in. More importantly, if your organizational purpose, vision, and strategy are ill-defined, your leadership development program will not produce the benefits you are looking for.
If you are a business owner or executive, and you are investing in a program that you are not taking part in yourself, you are setting yourself and your people up for failure. Your people are going to learn a way of leading that you are not practicing. They will encounter frustration when they put into practice what you had them trained in, only to have your own personal style contradict what they learned. Moreover, if your organization's purpose, vision, and strategy is ill-defined, your leaders will be all rowing in different directions.
BEFORE ENGAGING IN LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Leadership development is not like an out-of-the-box purchase of a standard process or tool. You cannot just invest in a program, have your people learn it, and expect growth because you have people who went through a program. There must be a purpose and a vision for them to have a sense of direction when applying what they have learned. And when they emerge from learning the program, they should see you already out ahead of them setting the example of what they just learned, on the path toward the vision and purpose, showing them the way. That is effective leadership development.
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