How to Develop Emerging Leaders by Mark Wager
Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How To Develop Emerging Leaders
By Mark Wager
During difficult financial times companies tend to look at every area to cut costs. One of the most common areas that suffer economically is training. When money is tight it makes sense to cut back on what a lot of Managers may consider a luxury. This logic is flawed which is why many top companies are doing the opposite. During financial times they are actually investing in developing their staff, their point of view being that in tough financial times you need every possible advantage you can get. Developing their crucial assets i.e technical staff who produce innovative ideas, sales staff who can turn a one-off sale into an ongoing relationship, people who can inspire those around them to work harder and smarter? What is the most important asset? The answer is your people and in particular your people who are in leadership positions.
The question you need to ask of your trainer is not how much you can cut but how can you make it more effective.
One of the most effective forms of training is to focus on your emerging ground-level leaders. These people are the future of your company and by getting the right people with the right attitude and skills you can save yourself a fortune. Studies have shown that the main factor in the engagement level of the employee, is the measure of how emotionally connected the employee is with the organisation and the relationship the employee has with their line manager. Just imagine if all your staff were motivated and worked with passion – what could you achieve? In this article I will look at the most effective model for developing these people.
In my personal experience the model that works in the development of leaders is a model that I designed myself and I call it TACTIC. It stands for the six main areas that the emerging leader needs to focus on. The areas are Technical knowledge, awareness, communication, team building, influence and conflict. I will explain each of these in more detail.
The TACTIC model uses the theory of accelerated learning in order to get people up to an effective level of leadership ability as soon as possible. As a brief overview learning can be noticeably accelerated if you follow three simple steps. Firstly break down the skills you need to learn into smaller learning units. Secondly look at which units will get you 80% of the way to your goal. You find with most skills there are some few fundamental learning units which make you proficient. Learning all units make you an expert. The time it takes going from proficient to expert is lengthy yet if you know the areas to focus on you can get from novice to expert very quickly. The trap that people often fall into is trying to learn all units at once or focussing on the wrong learning units, usually the ones they are most comfortable doing. Once you have the main learning units identified the last step is to place those learning blocks into the most effective sequence. The TACTIC model incorporates this theory in order to develop quality leaders at a far quicker rate than you would normally expect. Now let’s talk about the selected learning units that make TACTIC work.
Ground-level managers, by which I mean Managers who have line-management responsibility for staff who are customer facing, need more subject matter expertise than any other level of leadership. During my years in various leadership roles both here in New Zealand and in the UK, I saw and experienced the different levels of leadership going from ground-level Managers with a strong focus on being a subject matter expert and supervision through to the middle management level with focus on relationships and systems integration up to the final level of strategic leadership, typically the CEO with the focus on vision and strategic thinking. Each is vital and each requires a different set of skills. For a ground-level Manager/supervisor it is estimated that 50% of their influence within the team comes from their subject matter expertise.
All leaders need to have a level of self-awareness as well as an understanding of how people are reacting to situations or even better, knowledge of how they will react to a situation. This is a common area of failure with leaders at all levels. People perceive and deal with situations in very different ways depending on their life experience, education, upbringing and their psychological preferences. An understanding of this then makes a lot of things that go on between people in the office suddenly start making a lot of sense.
Communication is something we use every minute of every hour of every day, yet very rarely do we analyse just how effective our Communication is. The difference between a good leader and a great leader is the quality of how they communicate with their team. A good leader communicates in a way so that their team knows what they have to do yet a great leader communicates in a way so that their team knows the "why"
A team is a collection of individuals who produce results together that they couldn't achieve individually. A leader needs to understand the theory of what makes an effective team. They need to understand how people interact with each other and what environment needs to be created in order to encourage innovation and open communication.
Dwight d. Eisenhower once wrote that "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it". This art of knowing the specific trigger points that influence people is essential not only for leaders but for anyone who wants to be successful.
The most commonly requested training I hear from leaders is conflict resolution. The ability to effectively manage conflict in their team. It's a challenge for all leaders regardless of their experience or position, in fact the majority of requests I receive for conflict training are from leaders in very senior positions. The key is to learn the elite conflict resolution model which assists leaders in turning conflict resolution from win/lose situations into a win/win scenario.
There are different models and different approaches to developing emerging leaders but in my experience the TACTIC model is the most efficient and cost effective learning model. In today's tough competitive times you can no longer afford to send someone on an one-day course and expect them to suddenly turn into a leader. Today you need to make the same efficient investment decisions in developing your staff that you do when you invest in other parts of your business. People are your biggest asset and your biggest opportunity for innovation and improvement. If you can improve your people then you will find leadership development the best investment you have ever made.
Now it's your turn to become an inspirational leader
Elite LD Limited offers a range of services that can turn smart, determined people into world-class inspirational leaders. A leadership consultancy firm based In New Zealand Elite LD provides team building workshops as well as specialised one-on-one training for anyone who is seeking assistance in developing all the necessary skills required to be a quality leader. Contact Elite LD today in order to find out how you can become an inspirational leader.
Posted: Monday 26 May 2014