Successful organizations know they need to work differently than they have in the past. Superstar talent that performs well in an isolated silo is critical, but not enough in a world that is constantly changing. Bringing development to all levels of leadership makes it easier for an organization to execute its strategy and achieve its goals.
When building a leadership development program, it’s important to focus on 3 principles:
- Plan: Strategy First. Organizations don’t go to market without a sales or operations strategy. Likewise, there should be hesitancy about going to market without a leadership strategy.
- Build: The Right Learning for the Right Level. Just producing a training program is not enough. The organization needs to create a framework to support learning and development goals.
- Leverage: The Right Talent – Outside and Inside. Engage external partners and internal teams to champion the initiative and develop new leaders.
Scaling leadership development is the best way to create new capabilities across an entire organization in a short amount of time. Aha! Leadership offers Growth Group Mico-to bring Leadership Development to every level of your organization. Learn more about our educational approach here.
This month’s White Paper explores the keys to devising a leadership development strategy that aligns with the organization’s strategic plan. Click here to download the full White Paper.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” -Jimmy Dean
Each person has a preference for how they would like to be influenced. Selecting the best influence tactic is important to achieve the desired outcome with a person or group. Effective leaders understand the way others want to be influenced and apply the right tactics to build alignment and commitment. To shape direction, alignment, and commitment through interactions with others, leaders must be skilled in 6 areas:
- Understanding and navigating organizational politics: Organizations have formal and informal structures. Understanding and effectively navigating through complex political situations require political insight. Leaders adjust to the reality of corporate politics and are sensitive to how the organization functions.
- Creating visibility: To create new opportunities, effective leaders stand out and get noticed by others while staying authentic. They are careful to allow their team members to shine while not over-promoting themselves.
- Building and maintaining personal trustworthiness: Leaders ask others to take risks along with them. Therefore people must believe in the leader and their leadership. Leaders must show integrity and be widely trusted.
- Leveraging networks: Forming and nurturing a network of relationships is invaluable in today’s interconnected world. Networking allows leaders to generate new experiences and to tap into the skills and vision of others.
- Clear communication: Writing and speaking clearly and briefly and applying a variety of communication styles helps leaders to get the message across and to ensure the right impact.
- Motivating others: By motivating others leaders create a climate in which people become engaged and empowered. Leaders understand the needs, styles, and motivators of others. People will like working with and for those leaders and will be more receptive to their influencing.
Influencing, Manipulation, and Power
Influencing is different from manipulation. Influencing is a process and is characterized by a positive intention in the interest of the persons influenced and of the organization. Trust is at the core of the relationship between the influencer and the people influenced. The leader or person who exercises influence builds trustful relations, is transparent about the goals, the purpose, and his or her values. There is no hidden agenda, and the leader does not abuse any psychological or other weaknesses of the person who is influenced. Positive and effective influence results in alignment and commitment.
Influencing affects, shapes, or transforms opinions, behaviors, and actions. While power often is associated with control in hierarchical organizations, leaders at all levels in the organization can leverage different bases of power to influence others.
In this White Paper, we explore the power of relationship, the power of information, and the power of expertise; and how these techniques are essential for the leader to influence others, with or without formal authority.
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.“ – John C. Maxwell
Coaching is more than a collection of effective techniques. The qualities associated with coaching are the ones that energize us and generate creativity and commitment. Coaching culture is about having the conversations that may not usually happen to make sure we understand and can act in ways that amplify collaboration, agreement, and alignment.
The first step is understanding the myths and misconceptions surrounding coaching culture. These assumptions can prove major resource drains for organizations looking to implement a coaching culture:
- Coaching culture is achieved via lots of coaching, as if sheer quantity of programs could change a culture. True culture change is not an accessory that can be clamped onto the current system. It has to touch both formal and informal processes and be embraced because it just works better.
- Changing to a coaching culture can be the flavor of the month. The glittering possibility of an inspiring, creative, and humane workplace attracts us, but overly optimistic pictures can blind us to ineffective approaches.
It’s best to think of this kind of culture change using metaphors like farming. Farming implies starting small, planting many seeds, and being willing to nurture the process through multiple stages. Organizations that successfully implement a coaching culture approach the process in phases. This White Paper challenges you to avoid these assumptions as you cultivate a coaching culture throughout your organization.
Why a Coaching Culture?
Coaching is most well-known as a collection of techniques or a professional service, but beneath the prominent public face are key assumptions and a philosophy of human change, accomplishment, and well-being. Coaches ask questions, encourage exploration, reluctantly advise, and show well developed listening and feedback skills. These are the superficial manifestations of a view of human relations that radically embraces the competence of each person. A coaching view affirms that by inspiring discovery, reflection, and persistence in another person, that person becomes capable of significantly greater achievement, deeper and broader thinking, and more consistent expression of their values over time.
We have all experienced relationships that inspired us and suffered under others that demoralized us. Consistently, the qualities associated with coaching, such as deep self-awareness, genuine interest and caring expressed through curiosity, open questioning, and listening, are the ones that energize us and generate creativity and commitment.
Part of the power of coaching is that it gives a mechanism for leaders to balance toughness of mind with consideration for the emotional climate of those they lead. Coaching is mostly about getting to the truth, but what makes it powerful is its assumption that the recipients of uncomfortable truths can and will change. Coaching never misleads others about the consequences of their actions, choices, and relationships. Coaching is about discovering the whole truth, facing the tough issues, and creating a liberating space for improvement.
Coaching culture is not just “doing coaching.” It’s having the conversations that may not usually happen—across functions, across levels—to make sure we understand and can act in ways that amplify collaboration, agreement, and alignment.
To make this more explicit, we will first describe different kinds of situations in which coaching may be valuable. These are not programs, but illustrations of how a coaching mindset shapes many kinds of conversations needed for vibrant organizational cultures. We will call these practical expressions of coaching culture.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams