Developing Leaders

A conceptual look at developing strong leaders

Our previous post referenced recent research indicating that the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. has risen this past year, and that the primary reason for this increase is that organizations have made positive changes in how they develop their employees.

Carrying that thought a bit further, leaders at all levels within an organization must also be developed in order to bring about sustainable change and improvement. We have always known that it is a person’s immediate supervisor that has the greatest impact on their work experience and engagement level, so it stands to reason that these leaders must be trained and developed so that they can be effective.

To develop strong leaders, we have found the following five steps are critically important:

  1. Training is an ongoing step. Leaders at all levels must understand leadership styles and how to diagnose the circumstances requiring leadership so they can apply the most effective style. Related skills and behaviors also include communication and listening, motivation, delegation, recognition and empowerment.
  2. 360° feedback from peers, staff members and upper management is a popular and insightful component of leadership development.
  3. Coaching in a team environment is an ideal place in which to exercise and improve peoples’ leadership skills, self awareness and ability to build upon strengths.
  4. Individual mentoring can help people analyze personal effectiveness and refine their approach based on actual performance and achievement. Mentors should observe leaders’ performance and conduct personal debriefing sessions. This cycle continues until desired skills and performance levels have have been achieved.
  5. Accountability. All leaders are held accountable for their personal development as well as for developing others.