How do we develop the leadership skills necessary to create the future?
Here is a list of the leadership development philosophies that are being practiced today.
1. The Cream Will Rise To The Top.
This philosophy believes that you throw leaders into experiences and those that survive will naturally emerge as leaders.
My father is 85 years old. He was taught to swim when his older brother threw him into the farm pond. I guess it was either learn to swim or drown in the process. As Bill Cosby said to his children, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out, and make another one that looks just like you.” I’m amazed some time that we survived these early attempts of training. But, somehow we did. I guess people did the best they could with the information that they had. However, 80 years later we have developed better methods. Swim training has evolved somewhat since the 1930’s. I’m not sure that Michael Phelps would have won 16 gold medals if his only training would have been “sink or swim” farm pond training.
2. We can buy cream
Many businesses adhere to this philosophy. Good leaders are expensive. As one company said, we will buy leaders back. In other words, we will let them go to other companies and get the experience needed, then we’ll buy them back when they have received their education. I’d suggest that some of your leadership can be purchased, but purchasing leadership is expensive and we compete with all of the other companies who are bidding for these scarce resources.
3. We can manufacture cream
This is my most preferred philosophy. It’s possible to give leaders the types of experiences necessary to create the leadership needed to create the future that we want.
CEO’s were asked, “What contributes most to the development of future leaders?”. The top answer was: A personalized individual development plan.
You may ask, what are the components of a development plan? Here are some of the necessary components.
1. Desired Results
What are the areas that need to be developed?
2. Things to Read
Abraham Lincoln got his entire education from reading books. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
3. Things To Do
Activities can be designed to help leaders learn important skills. Activities may include job rotation, leading project teams, etc.
4. Coach or Mentor
Pick an individual that models the desired skill effectively and have lunch with them. Document suggestions and coaching
5. Resources Needed From Organization
6. How We Measure Results
Research also shows that sharing this plan with at least one other person outside of your organization has the biggest impact upon plan quality.
If you would like to discuss your development plan or your leadership development process, contact me and let’s discuss.
4. We will settle for Milk
Our future is too important to rely on this strategy. So buy some and build some, but don’t settle for milk!