Don't think that one size fits all
I remember a TV commercial years ago showing a person who bought a huge riding lawn mower for his postage stamp yard. He could barely turn it around without running over the shrubbery.
The point? That what many companies sell you is not what you need but only what they have.
How can this one size fits all mentality be avoided in leader development?
I have found that the key to making it effective is to think in terms of 3 broad categories of what they need in terms of development. I’m always looking for these three areas as I proceed to work with leaders.
3 Categories of Development
1. Thinking - obviously, this is all about how one thinks. I want them to understand not only a better way of doing something but a better way of thinking about something.
Why? Because one’s behavior flows from his/her values and motives…what they find important.
Values find their origin in one's thinking and beliefs. To transform a leader’s behavior, one must go all the way down into the leader’s thinking.
One of my most often used phrases is, “Let’s think about that a moment.” I’m wanting them to come up with the why they did something. The basis for a decision or action.
2. Maturity - this is about how one behaves. How did the person react to a situation? Were they aware of their own emotions and reactions? Were they able to turn those into something positive or did they merely lose it and vent their frustration and anger?
Why is this so important? All of us know people who were bright, talented, intelligent and personable but there was always something about who he or she was as a person that kept tripping them up…blind spots.
Things like not being able to deal with negative realities such as failure or criticism, the lack of discipline or the inability to manages their reactions.
These are the things that get leaders. It’s no longer acceptable for someone to say, “That’s just the way I am.”
3. Skills - this is about how one performs. What are those skills and abilities needed to do the job well, that lead to success in any given responsibility?
I often like to ask, “What skills are necessary for you to do your job well and how competent and confident are you in performing them?”
Often much is assumed here. Or there is fear that if they say they need some further training and coaching that they will lose their opportunity.
Thinking - Maturity - Skills. We have found that virtually every area of development you can think of fits under one of these three categories.
Which of these 3 areas is the most challenging for you to help others in?