At its most basic, being a leader in the workplace involves setting direction and guiding others to follow that direction. A critical skill for leaders at every organizational level and no matter the number of years of experience is the ability to manage their own learning.
If you are a highly motivated and self-directed professional, you learn by reading, attending development programs, listening to mentors and experts, asking questions, and being a good observer of both people and the organizational culture in which you work. If you are responsible for the development of your organization’s future leaders, you have some guiding to think about.
Leadership Development in your Organization:
- What is your impression of the areas of knowledge and skills recommended for effective leadership? Does your organization have a list of core competencies for Leaders?
- Is training and development for leaders informal, formal, other-directed or self-directed?
- How does your organization handle the short life span of useful knowledge that can result in training programs?
- How is the passing down of acquired competencies to succeeding employees dealt with?
- Can your organization accommodate the demands of productivity while providing for the continuity of learning?
- Does your organization pursue activities that correspond to different learning styles and needs or is it ‘one size fits all?’
- Does your organization have a formal mentoring program (or does it allow for Leaders to obtain professional support in the way of coaches, consultants or counselors?
Without a well thought out and developed plan for each and every leader (and those potential leaders), employee growth will be haphazard at best and a waste of time at its worst. If you want your current and future leaders to learn how to set direction, influence others, provide guidance and feedback, develop persistence, initiative and risk – ask them if they see these leadership characteristics in you.
What these skills look like when conducted in the workplace is how you know people have learned these critical leadership abilities. If they are absent, arrange for ways for ways they can be learned and developed.
Make a plan for those employees who have the potential for leadership positions, those currently in leadership positions, and yourself. Don’t let the coming year catch you unprepared for the strong leadership organizations are going to require.
Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management training and development consulting practice that specializes in developing human resources in the areas of leadership and management training, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 25 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at http://jonidaniels.com