Leadership Development

According to a McKinsey & Company report, business executives rank leadership development in their top three human-capital priorities. In fact, almost two-thirds identified leadership development as their number-one concern.

So just what is leadership development? One definition of leadership development refers to activities that improve the skills, abilities and confidence of leaders.

The Resilient Leader

It’s no secret that senior leaders face a multitude of challenges. The ever-growing global competition, technology advancement and constant change are putting pressure and adding stress on all individuals in leadership positions. This acceleration of pace in the workplace also demands an increase in leaders to adapt and thrive. To improve the skills, abilities and confidence of senior management, companies need to develop resilient leaders

The American Psychological Association’s definition of resilience is a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress.

However, resilience is not just a way to bounce back. The difference between resilient individuals is not only how they handle losing, but how they prepare to win. As Ron Carucci writes, “Leaders must cultivate resilience as an ongoing skill, not just for the ‘big moments’ of painful setbacks or major change.”

In leadership development, preparing leaders for the good times and the bad times is key to their success. Resilience for senior leaders means learning to adapt in the face of stressful situations. To build resilience, leaders must have an adapting capacity, and sometimes it means changing behavior. For example, leaders need to be open to alternate solutions.

Resilience is being able to adapt, and you don’t need to go to business school to have resilience. Resilience is innate within us. In fact, humans may be the most adaptive species on earth. Although resilience is not extraordinary, is a process that happens over time and it is better served cold.

More than education, more than experience, more than training, resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. A resilience-focused approach to leadership development and management development helps leaders build commitment and persistence. No matter the learning style or the learning goal all leaders can reach new heights in their leadership journey by developing a resilient  mindset.

Effective Leadership Development

A successful leadership training program process leverages the psychology of successful people, assuming a high level of self-determination and agility. Leaders must move rapidly from awareness to acceptance to action in order to be able to adapt in the face of adversity.

With a resilient mindset, leaders will able to improve their leadership effectiveness. Their improvement should also be recognized by those they work with in various business units. This recognition can help senior leaders to powerfully build their personal leadership brand equity.

What makes an effective leadership development coaching program?
  • Mindset matters – Becoming a more effective leader, sometimes, requires changing behavior. This also means adjusting the underlying mindsets. Having a resilience mindset is key for executives to commit and persist in the learning journey.
  • Context matters – Too many leadership development programs make the assumption that one size fits all. In fact, many leadership development programs overemphasize skills and competencies that the leader does not need. It is all about equipping leaders with the competencies that will make the biggest impact for the job he or she is being prepared for.
  • Everyday work matters– Leadership development is most effective when it is tied to real on the job projects that can measure impact and focus on the application of learning.
  • Measuring progress matters – Leadership development can be measured by assessing the extent of behavioral change and the perception of stakeholders. What is the metric that will determine when progress is being made?

There is a pivotal question for leaders and sponsors. If the leader measurably improves in one or two leadership growth areas, how much value would that create for the organization? The most common answer of leaders, bosses (sponsors), and human resource professionals is “invaluable.”

Developing Resilient Leadership Skills

There are many fundamental principles of resilient leadership development. Some important principles include attention on the stakeholders, emphasis on the future, and parallel behavior/perception change. These distinguishing features guarantee a successful leadership development process. But the engine that makes this process move forward is the resilient mindset.

Successful executives, high potential individuals, and senior leaders have a strong desire to further improve and become even more successful. These leaders are committed to their success as well as the success of their teams and organizations.

A resilience-focused approach to leadership development leverages the psychology of successful people. An effective leader often has a high level of self-determination and agility. Leaders can move rapidly from awareness to acceptance to action with a focus on the importance of learning resilience. Leaders must learn to adapt in the face of adversity.

Here are the top benefits of resilience-focused leadership development programs for high potential leaders:

  • A focus on changing the “visible” and “impactful” leadership behavior of top executives. The perceived change can then be measured, linked to business outcomes, and tracked with ROI.
  • Real-time, on-the-job day to day process requires no extra-valuable time from busy executives.
  • An emphasis on disciplined execution and consistent follow-up sustains the change and ensures long-term effectiveness.
  • Engaging with the system makes leadership growth translate into practical benefits in how teams communicate and collaborate.
  • Leaders can become coaches using the same process. Those coached can do the same, resulting in leadership development and a coaching culture.

Leadership growth should be measured consistently throughout the program. It is important to  measure the stakeholders’ perception of the leadership growth in the predefined leadership growth areas. Research shows that 95% of the leaders who consistently involved their stakeholders in the process measurably improved their leadership effectiveness.

A resilience-focused approach to leader development will take the performance of senior leaders to the next level. It can help improve the skills, abilities and confidence of senior management and create successful resilient leaders.