- Grow your own: Hire promising talent early and invest in their training and retention.
- Look for emerging leaders and, again, invest in them.
Annual investments per front-line leader has grown from $533 in 2009 to $1671 in 2014. 3.8x increase. Investment at mid-level and senior level has also gone up, but not as much as front-line (source: Bersin).
To keep up with competitors, invest at least one-third of your total leadership development budget in your front-line leaders.
The ability to lead people effectively "People Leadership Skills" is three to four times more important to a leaders career success than are other skills and knowledge.
Organisations whose leaders use certain people leadership skills to a higher degree tend to perform better in their industries. Industry-leading organisations report much higher use of key people leadership practices than lower performing organisations.
Our research indicates that the four people leadership skills that are most critical are;
- Think like a leader
- Coach your team
- Get results through others
- Engage people
Ensure all your leaders, and especially front line leaders, are trained in these four critical practices.
An engaged workforce is a huge market advantage:
In organisations with engaged work forces, absenteeism is lower by 37%, turnover is higher by 37%, safety incidents are 49% lower, productivity is 18% higher and profitability is also 16% higher (source: Gallup, "The State of the Global Workplace").
Multiple studies over the few years show that...around 20% of employees are actively disengaged and only around 15% are highly engaged and Forum global study on engagement is validated by this research.
Forum's research has uncovered 25 engagement factors and five core engagement needs. By knowing and understanding these factors and the core needs, a leader can have a big impact on the team and individual employee levels of engagement.
Educate your leaders about the critical importance of employee engagement, and how to boost it by appealing to core engagement needs.
Many thinkers today (Clay Shirkey, Andrew Hargadon, Josh Bernoff, Charlene Li) suggest that innovation, change, new directions, and strategies emerge not from individuals, but from the social network.
Forum's engagement research indicates that it's not just about employee engagement anymore. In today's connected world, leaders need to be concerned with engaging these groups of stakeholders (in addition to employees) and includes: suppliers, non-employee associates, partners, customers, and consumers.
According to the Centre of Creative Leadership, "The story of the last 50 years has been the story of the individual. It began with discoveries about what makes a good leader and was followed by the development of practices that helped a generation of individuals move closer to that ideal..."
However in the last 15 years this model has become less effective. The complexity of the new environment increasingly presents what Ronald Heiftz calls 'adaptive challenges' in which it is not possible for any one individual to know the solution or even define the problem.
Create multi-level leadership development systems:
- Ensure consistency between the levels: consistent competencies, concepts, language, and themes;
- Give each level a strong role in the programs for the next level down;
- Be intentional about bringing together leaders from different business units, functions, and geographies for training and development opportunities.
Forum survey results of 700 leaders globally showed that 91 percent of respondents said that they have to many projects, activities, and responsibilities. 75 percent reported to have "little or no" capacity to "do more with less."
Multiple studies show that employees around the world are working harder than ever, getting less downtime, and feeling a greater sense of information overload. And the pace of change and uncertainty (see Trend 1 above) continues to rise.
In order to justify the time and cost of training many L&D organisations have for several years been emphasizing the "nose to the grindstone" approach in learning programs. But we are now starting to see a backlash. Learners have no desire to come to a training class in which they are forced to work at a breakneck pace all day, complete difficult assignments in the evening, and at the same time keep up with their regular work.
Learning that is relevant, practical, and challenging is appreciated; boot-camp-style learning is not.
Give learners a break. They're tired, and "pedal-to-the-metal" training will only make them more tired. Design learning that's practical and challenging, but that also includes chances for:
- Team bonding and laughter
- Quiet time and reflection
- Free-wheeling discussions with colleagues
- A bit of a surprise and adventure
Join me as I venture toward and beyond the edge of "Leadership Paradigms" in 2016. Sign up here and journey with me through the knowledge and experience that positions today's top leaders towards driving their organisation to its next level of excellence, growth and economic success! Cheers.