Leadership is struggling. You only need to look at the latest news articles to see how little we’ve done to prepare individuals to lead. We’ve defaulted to the most basic of approaches to help leaders grow – observation. We send them off into the wild and let them observe the behaviors of other leaders, and that’s how many truly develop their style and approach. Unfortunately, this method usually relies on observing the worst behaviors and choosing (hopefully) not to include those in their repertoire. It’s a bit like giving someone a chainsaw and having them figure out all the things not to do with it, rather than showing them how to use it properly.
Of course, many of you will object and point out all the books and leadership training out there today, and I would agree – there is a lot of great information available. But information doesn’t equal behavior and it’s behavior that we’re after. We need leaders who are self-aware, empathetic and honest, but very few organizations focus on these areas. Instead, training is often just a check box on a performance review that we can mark completed at the end of the year.
If you want to get a pulse check on leadership in your organization, honestly ask yourself a few quick questions:
Do leaders in our organization make working here better? Do they inspire those around them, trust those they work with, and have a passion for developing people?
Are the leaders in our organization self-aware, and do they have a deep understanding of what motivates each member of their team? Are they excited about helping everyone achieve their personal and professional goals along with the organization’s objectives?
Are our leaders beacons in the organization – encouraging growth and learning? Do they accept mistakes as challenges to be looked at as learning opportunities?
Are the leaders in our organization focused on growing the next generation of leaders? Are they committed to hiring, challenging, developing and inspiring great leaders?
How well does your organization stack up against those simple questions? These questions only begin to scratch the surface of what we need our leaders to be. We need these qualities and a lot more. The status quo needs to go out with 2019 and a new paradigm established.
It all starts with a hard look at where you are. From that honest assessment you can begin to explore the resources that could help your organization not only grow the next generation of leaders but rehabilitate those who are struggling right now. Start today. Don’t let another year, much less another decade, go by. The survival of your organization may depend on it and we don’t want to survive, we want to thrive!