If you do not intentionally develop your leaders, guess what? You are almost certain to end up with some bad, poor, inadequate leaders
DOING NOTHING IS NOT A GOOD PLAN!
If you are a great leader, then read no further; and if your organization has a successful, world class leadership training and developing developing program in place, then read no further.
A friend of mine has developed, and is developing, “Leadership Academies” for small-to-mid-size-to-large organizations.
We got to talking… and thinking.
I asked him what most organizations do to train and develop their leaders. Remember, he is hired to help organizations do exactly that…train their leaders. After an awkward silence, he said, “well, most of them do… nothing.”
Think about this. People are promoted and placed into leadership positions. They may have areas of expertise. But, they have not been trained on leadership challenges and responsibilites and issues. At all, in many instances.
Imagine the conversation…
“Here you are. You are now a supervisor/manager/leader. Now, lead.”
“Can you help me; what should I be doing as a leader?”
“Sorry; you are on your own.”
Have you heard about the problem of inadequate leaders? poor leaders? toxic leaders? Maybe there is a connection between a lack of leadership training and development and such bad leaders.
Now, I know the criticisms of leadership training programs. There are studies, and books, saying that leadership training has not helped turn out better leaders.
But, I have to wonder…not to train people to lead seems to not work very well either.
I have read business books, preparing and presenting synopses of the best such books, for nearly 25 years. (Two books; every month). There are some great stories of those who attained leadership positions, and on their own set out to learn how to lead. I think of Ed Catmull, and Tony Faddell, as two examples. They each chronicle, in their books, their own self-learning efforts to learn how to lead. Such people are pretty remarkable, serious learners.
But, there are so many who would not know how to pursue such knowledge on their own all that well. They need help.
I think organizations need to provide such help.
So, a couple of pieces of advice:
#1 – If you are thrust into a leadership position, do your own serious study of leadership. The people you lead deserve this. You’ve got to get good, and then better, at leading. And, winging it is not a very good strategy at all.
#2 — If you have any voice at all in your organization (and, you do have such a voice!), then lobby long and hard for a Leadership Academy to be developed for your organization. You really will be better off if you train your leaders well.
This post has had nothing to say about what kind of leadership training to implement. I am a fan of “Servant Leadership.” Just repeating the phrase – “we practice servant leadership” – is a good place to start. I think it would serve your organzation well to develop servant leaders.
But, I think this much should be obvious: you will end up with too much bad leadership if you do nothing.
You will end up with better leadership if you offer good, competent, substantive, leadership training.
And, then, after such training, which is then regularly reinforced in a systematic way, your people and leaders will be better led, and better able to recognize good leadership from bad.
And that matters a great deal.
A personal bias: my book synopses/book briefings can provide a valuable element in a good leadership training and development program. Check out this list of books that are all worthy of careful attention:
A More Comprehensive Reading list for leaders – So many good books; so much to learn