The following is a guest post by Therese S. Kinal.
At best, leadership development is a fun day out, at worst it is a gut wrenching, annoying exercise that leaves you cringing as someone teaches you to suck eggs. In neither case does it make you into a leader. Harsh? Perhaps, but that’s how most managers and executives I work with see it…. and in the majority of cases, I agree.
In today’s environment, employees have to deal with complexity and ambiguity at a much higher rate than before. Functions and clear roles and responsibilities have been replaced with multiple bosses, cross-functional teams, working with partners all over the world and a general sense of never quite standing still. In this brave new world, the only constant is change. And it is managers’ ability to innovate, collaborate and adapt to a constantly changing environment that are the leadership skills we most need to develop.
Despite the billions invested in leadership development every year, the vast majority of programs fail to deliver their intended results. In the US alone, US$ 156 billion is invested in learning and development every year, or US$ 1,182 per employee (1). And even though classroom training (live and virtual) is perceived to be the least effective(2), over 50% of organizations report using it(3).
In this tough economic climate and rapidly changing business environment, it’s not enough to Click here to continue reading »
With the impending arrival of Halloween, many of us are naturally preparing for our neighbourhoods to be overtaken by ghosts, goblins, superheroes and wizards. Although this yearly event tends to be associated with decorating pumpkins and handing out candy, Halloween also provides us with some unique insights on the importance and value of fostering a sense of community in our organization.
As our neighbours, family, and friends can attest, Halloween is a pretty big event in our household. Every year, we transform the front of our house into this magical place for Halloween – the picture above offers a glimpse of what the neighbourhood children have in store when they visit our home.
Being a parent, it comes as no surprise that one reason why I go through all this effort is because I love kids. But there’s another reason behind this drive to create a unique and memorable display for the children and families in our neighbourhood.
While most of us are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, researchers have found that we are also driven by three core psychological needs, one of them being relatedness. Studies has shown – and our collective human history repeatedly reminds us – that we are all driven to attain a sense of community; of feeling a connection and sense of belonging with those around us.
We’re compelled at an innate level to reach out and bond with those we relate to and who we share a common interest or experience with, a key driving force behind the popularity and growth of today’s social media networks.
This also explains why Click here to continue reading »
Most of us are probably familiar with the phrase ‘you only get one chance to make a good first impression’. Although the intent of the message is meant to remind us to be mindful of how we show up in that first introduction to someone new, a recent experience had me wondering how many of us are aware of how this can also limit us from seeing the real potential in others, and learning more about who they really are.
The first time I met Eric’s secretary, Lisa*, she came off as a bit abrasive and annoyed – pretty much the opposite of what most of us would consider to be a good first impression. In the weeks following that first encounter, Lisa was certainly more professional, but she still seemed more abrupt than courteous in her interactions with me. As a result, I ended up limiting my interactions with Lisa to polite pleasantries whenever I arrived at Eric’s office.
A few weeks ago when I went to give a presentation to Eric’s team, I was told by one of Eric’s employees that Lisa was waiting for me in the conference room to provide whatever assistance I might need in preparation for my talk.
Given my past interactions with Lisa, I was naturally apprehensive about how much help she would give, not to mention the awkwardness of having to figure out how to engage in small talk with someone I’ve grown accustomed to avoiding.
Right from the start, Lisa was Click here to continue reading »
One of the biggest challenges facing most leaders today is how to improve the current levels of employee engagement in their organization. Over the last few years, there have been numerous studies which have repeatedly shown that employee engagement levels continue to stagnate at the low end of the scale, impacting not only overall productivity, but also an organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in response to changes in the global economy.
It was certainly an issue that Alan* has been struggling with in his organization the last few years despite numerous attempts to try and improve the levels of engagement found in his workforce. As we sat in the conference room discussing the problem, Alan told me about some of the measures he’d taken – things like holding pizza parties and giving out company T-shirts and baseball caps.
And then in what could have been a scripted moment, Alan said with much exasperation: “I give them what they want and they still don’t seem to care!”
Now on any type of leadership score sheet, Alan would definitely rank as a competent and fair leader.
But through our discussions, it became obvious to Alan that a chasm that existed between what he perceived as what his employees wanted from him and the reality his employees face every day and what they needed from him to address it.
While we came up with a number of approaches that Alan could use to improve his understanding of what’s really required to improve employee morale in his organization, I want to share the following steps that I encouraged Alan to take – 3 key measures which every leader should be employing to ensure they understand what their employees need to be successful in their collective efforts. Click here to continue reading »