During a meeting where we were developing a leadership improvement program, I realised our team was more concerned about the behaviours our client organisation wanted to change rather than on how we may assist them in delivering those changes.
Leadership development programs are essentially change programs, and like any change process it will be challenging, time consuming and take emotional and mental effort – in other words it will not be easy. In this article posted on LinkedIn The discussion of Leadership Development is flawed - here's why, the author has effectively emphasised the significant difference between identifying what behavioural skills the leaders need to change as opposed to identifying how the leaders may in fact bring about the changes in the desired behaviours.
The article reinforces a number of the well-known strategies that can be used to develop improved leadership behaviours.
- Firstly, leaders who are seeking to change their behaviours should get help wherever they can. This may involve getting a mentor, a coach, or seeking additional feedback from several parties.
- Secondly, recognise that the behavioural change you are seeking will be hard – no change program is easy. Those undergoing the change will be uncomfortable, in unknown territory and probably impatient. Be prepared to support them, encourage them and provide regular feedback.
- Thirdly, learn about how to bring about behavioural change from the available literature to help you implement the program you are seeking.
If I was to disagree with anything within this article, it would be that all leaders should focus on just one aspect of their behaviour to change at any given time. I firmly believe that you are more likely to succeed if you start by mastering one new behaviour before moving onto another. This is especially important during the early stages of the leadership development process. Over the years I have watched too many individuals and organisations become overwhelmed when they have attempted to change too many behaviours too quickly - resulting in no behavioural improvements.
We should all remember there is no shortcut when developing the skills and knowledge of our leaders. It is a gradual process and should be implemented by leaders at all levels within the organisation in order to maximise effectiveness.