No Time for Leadership Development?

During this recession people are being asked to do more work, work longer hours and achieve more. No wonder the pollsters tell us that employee engagement is at an all time low. This includes executives and senior leaders who have seen their work days extend from early morning briefings with offices in Europe to late night conference calls with Asia. The outcome is a lack of time to devote to developing their leadership skills to help them adapt to this “new reality.”

While, more than ever, companies need strong leadership capabilities to achieve the next level, their leaders are frustrated by a lack of time. Over the last two years we have seen the growth of on-line webinars where 50+ people tune in to get “instructed” in such topics as “Today’s New Mandate: Enchanting and Open Leadership.” There’s also a resurgence of off-the-shelf or “sheep dip” type programs where the success of the program is measured by how many ideas and key points can be covered in an hour.

This proves that Leadership Development is still being done. Really?

Leadership development is not a spectator sport. You can’t simply download the latest e-book and tic off the “development” box. Adult learning research has demonstrated that becoming proficient with a particular skill requires time, a thorough understanding of what is needed to become proficient, opportunities to practice the skill and finally application in your own environment. Watching a set of PowerPoint slides is not going to do that.

So how can we overcome this dilemma of lack of time versus the need to develop new skills?

How about leadership team coaching? Instead of thinking of coaching as a purely one-on-one process, why not provide coaching for your entire leadership team? Coaching interspersed with short group sessions can provide many of the benefits of a leadership development program as well as the one-on-one benefits of executive coaching. Your executive team will receive an effective development process as they need to develop new skills or enhance the skills they already have, and it can meet their busy schedules.

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