Most of us end up in a leadership role by being promoted or asked to take over projects at an ever growing rapid pace. Common practice is to promote those with seniority, even if the employee is given no management or leadership training.
The numbers are still staggering on how many organizations are behind in training leaders within their organizations. A research article in the Deloitte University Press* states;
“Leadership remains the No. 1 talent issue facing organizations around the world, with 86 percent of respondents in our survey rating it as “urgent” or “important.” Only 13 percent of respondents say they do an excellent job developing leaders at all levels—the largest “readiness gap” in our survey.” Deloitte University Press
If 86% of respondents admit that leadership is “urgent” or “important”, but only 13% of respondents are doing anything about it, then where is this disconnect coming from?
The reality of leadership is that most leaders did not ask to lead, and do not realize everyone is a leader in their organization regardless of whether they asked for it or not. As I work with organizations and entrepreneurs, it is clear that personal and professional development is essential and will always be the “golden key” to raising leaders.
This brings me to a recent observation while refereeing a High School Soccer game. While I was refereeing the sideline for a Junior Varsity game on the parent side, the home team Varsity Soccer team was causing a ruckus. Yes, this is normal behavior and usually the parents are causing the issue. Back to the team, they were yelling profanity, negative jokes about their own team members, and in general not setting a great example of respect for others.
My response was one of delicate but stern warning, “I only want to hear positive comments and cheering from this section.” The shock and awe of surprise that anyone would call them out on their bad behavior was priceless. I heard a few other comments about me throughout the game, but as usual when refereeing the parent side, most of the comments, slander, and disgust for our calls rolls off our backs.
At the end of the game, I pulled the Varsity coach aside and told him of the incident. “Coach you have a great team this year, and we are the sum of who we choose to hang out with. Your team members are leaders on the sideline, and I know you would not expect anything less of them.” The coach was appreciative, and the next week at the Varsity game the team was a little sheepish, but also seemed to understand the reality of being on a Varsity team. They are leaders. Perhaps not by choice, but now they are aware that they are leaders and people will follow.
Here are a few ideas for a Leadership Plan:
- Internal training program: Develop a video series or testing series to continually add value and knowledge.
- Budget for training/education leadership programs: Reinstitute or create these programs. Many organizations cut these programs in 2008 and did not bring them back.
- Mentorship programs: These programs are the most cost effective and added value to your organization. Current leaders are sharing, pouring, and also learning from those who they are mentoring. No longer does the organization have an intellectual property “leak” because knowledge is being shared.
- Leadership assessments: Have you interviewed and given all of your team members a leadership assessment? Seniority should not dictate promotion; the most prepared and willing should be your next promotion.
- Succession planning: Does your organization have a plan in place for all leadership roles?
I build content and programs for organizations, and the first thing I ask for is an outline of the above. And if there is content for the programs, I ask for that as well. You see, 100% of organizations have blind spots in developing and lifting leaders in their organization. Not by neglect, but by default.
I welcome your questions on where to start or am willing to look at your current plan. Please contact us today, as we are committed to adding value to leaders–which is everyone. Reality kicks our pants! No matter what you do or where you are, people are looking to you for the next step through your actions.
Challenge Question: Where is reality kicking your leadership pants?
Look UP & OUT!
Deloitte University Press Link
Global Leadership Survey & Data Link
Tracy Worley (2015) Authentic Leadership, Authentic Self
Canwell, Dongrie, Neveras, Stockton (2014), Deloitte University Press