Stop Training Your Managers, Start Developing Your Leaders

By | August 24, 2006

First things, first, lets define leadership. Leadership is where an organisation motivates its key stakeholders to move to new places. Places that are sometimes exciting, scary, uncomfortable, challenging and different. What all these new places have in common however, is that they require Leadership to make the case, to create the mandate for change and show how the journey can be accomplished.

We have some very straightforward views of Leadership:

  • Leadership is not about seniority. All roles should have leadership expectations embedded within them
  • Leadership can be developed by making the behaviours required to be a leader relevant and correctly scaled for the role being modelled
  • Leadership is about ownership, when people own issues that face them or the organisation, they begin the process of taking part in finding solutions or designing action plans
  • Widespread leadership behaviour reduces management time needed for checking, controlling, expediting, telling and generally coping
  • People love being leaders, although many hated the idea when first put to them.

So where does the 21st century manager fit in?

The traditional preserve of managers is being eaten away far quicker than many organisations and individuals can respond. Where managers used to be employed to control the flow of information both up and down the organisation, the speed and volume of information transfer provided by the internet, your intranet and internal MI systems has obliterated that role.
What about the impact Generation X’ers and Nexters are having? For Generation X’ers the big idea is about personal stuff, work life balance in their favour. Their prime motivation is about self fulfilment. Nexters see their big idea as being about the planet with work being seen as part of an holistic system of connections and integrated behaviours. Their prime motivation is about big themes connecting to work/personal experiences.

Both these sets of people are changing the traditional view and ways of management. They have no appetite to automatically defer to the assumed wisdom and experience of their ‘elders’. Respect needs to be hard earned every single day. Many managers often find themselves bemused, managing people who earn more than them and whose jobs they struggle to understand let alone fulfil. When a person finds themselves in a position like that the instinct is to survive, not create.

The choices are simple, get out of the way or act as an enabler, not the fat controller. What people look for from ‘managers’ now is Leadership in the face of ambiguity, direction and the real ability to create a culture of coaching and innovation. Sadly that’s not what the majority of ‘management training’ offerings bring to the party.

How can we develop the 21st Century Manager?

The response from training and development departments to this question is often to offer a solid management development programme covering the ‘essentials’ of motivation theory, time management, negotiation and delegation, supported by a day on leadership skills. It’s worked before, and it’s easy to specify and buy.

However, too many managers have been through the management training treadmill just one time too many – happy to partake in ‘the cave rescue exercise’ again, safe in the knowledge that there will be a mid morning break where they can catch up on some ‘real work’ before rejoining each session a little late. Worse still they may simply be focussed on finding time to enjoy a little golf or the spa at the training venue. That doesn’t deliver value to their organisations, it doesn’t inspire or motivate them and it is all quickly forgotten back in the workplace when the reality of relentlessness bites.

Standard management development courses may give managers time away to reflect, but leave the organisation with little more than the invoices and ‘happy sheets’. Nothing changes because nothing was expected to change and nobody really minds anyway.

We can help you to get more out of your people through developing a real leadership cadre, which may take less out of your management training budget than you might think! The method by which we unlock this leadership potential is through 4SLeadership™.

By utilising 4SLeadership you can help develop the leadership potential within your business.

From This:

  • We have some who are great people managers, some who really deliver results, but few who do both
  • Our people are great in the day to day but don’t seem capable of communicating and contributing to our vision
  • Our management development consists simply of a suite of training programmes
  • Our organisation lacks creativity
  • We’re great at finding solutions to problems but not so great at minimising the risk before it occurs

To This:

  • Recognising the real leadership potential within your organisation and being able to build on it
  • Creating a vocabulary of leadership
  • Recognising and nurturing the leadership behaviours which your organisation needs now and in the future
  • Creating a level of ownership and commitment across all levels of your business
  • Reducing the demand on managers to be continually checking, controlling, expediting, telling and generally coping.

To look at what you need from your leadership population in the future, and to design your development a different way talk to us .

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