It’s tempting to think of leadership development as old-fashioned. I’ve heard it all.
“Why not just hire the best people and let them do their job?”
“Why spend the time, money, and effort putting people through courses?”
“Why provide skill assessments when people should know their strengths and weaknesses?”
“Leadership development is made-up by consultants and trainers trying to make a quick buck.”
The naysaying and misguided opinions continue on, and on.
In the past, organizations invested in professional development programs like sales training, customer service training, and communication training to get a leg up on the competition and create a level of consistency across the organization. Eventually, these organizations realized their managers were the key to the implementation and stickiness of training. This revelation caused a shift in attention to those in leadership positions.
Amidst an epidemic of turnover, underperforming teams, and toxic work environments, the best organizations separated themselves because of this fundamental leadership truth:
YOU GET THE LEADER YOU FORMJohn Eades
In other words, you become the leader you construct.
There are some powerful reasons why you should continue to invest in your leadership development programs:
1. Business is constantly changing, so must leaders
The markets are changing at a pace we have never seen before. Executive leaders are constantly looking for new and better ways to provide growth and often times this means entering new markets, acquiring companies on the fringes of their expertise, and building innovative products.
At times of accelerated growth, leaders who are constantly evolving and growing are imperative. Those leaders are able to distribute authority to allow the decisions to be made where the information is. For many leaders, their desire to be at the center of decisions creates challenges that can be detrimental to growth.
Organizations that educate and empower leaders to make decisions by building strong bonds of mutual trust with their people will come out on top.
2. People need to be reminded more than they need to be taught
Samual Johnson famously said, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be taught.” It’s one of my favorite quotes because it’s so true. Most leaders have been around the block a time or two and teaching them something they have never seen before is challenging.
With the sheer amount of information that comes at us each and every day, it’s a miracle if we retain much of what we read or see. Because each leader is experiencing different obstacles and challenges in their life, a key principle that they learned about years prior might be much more important in the present than when they first encountered it.
3. The grass is always greener
Being in the trenches creates repetition and breeds a sense of complacency. For proof of this just ask the majority of married couples after 5,10, or 20 years of marriage. This complacency can create a desire for one to look outside your organization for employment. Before long, critical team members are taking calls from recruiters and exploring opportunities where the grass looks greener.
While all great things have an ending, the last thing organizations want is for the grass to look greener because of a lack of development opportunities. Leverage the power of education to engage, inspire your people.
While every professional who is responsible for their leadership development initiatives should be ready and willing to answer the question, “what business outcome are we striving for?” Keep in mind the work you do has long-lasting benefits that go beyond the job.
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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.