Can Leadership Programs Make Good Leaders?
Knowing about leadership in theory is one thing but practically applying those attributes to business situations is quite the other. It requires an open mind, willingness to experiment, adoption of new leadership style that suit organizational goals and culture.
As visible, you can appoint a leader, but you can’t really be assured that he/she will be able to lead. As they say, ‘you can take a horse to the water, but you can’t force it to drink.’ Yet organizations lavish time and money on development programs in the hope to nurture leadership qualities.
However, this doesn’t mean that development programs are completely a futile exercise. But no action can reap benefits if done mindlessly. According to a McKinsey Research Report, companies can develop more capable leaders if they avoid the following four common mistakes.
- Set the target before you aim at it. Every situation requires application of different leadership skills. So first focus on the context, whether it’s increasing sales or supporting new product launches or others. Then equip leaders with required competencies to see a difference in performance.
- Learning by doing is better than mere listening. Attending development programs doesn’t necessarily guarantee application in real-life. To ensure that, try to integrate development programs with live projects, or use business simulations.
- To change behavior, change the mindset. Warning against vices of micromanagement to a participant who has a controlling mindset will never work. To shift the mindset, give perspective through roleplays or real-life examples.
- Failure to measure the effectiveness of development programs means you don’t really care if it was worth it or not. Use methods like comparing performances of a group that received training and one which didn’t, or compare average productivity of participants prior to and after training programs.
MYB believes that you need to ask – “What can you do different to make development programs work?” Break through the clutter, adopt few leadership skills that best suit your business needs, and make them your own.