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Developing leadership at all levels

Developing leadership at all levels

Developing leadership at all levels

Problems with finding and keeping staff with the right level of skill occur throughout the industry, and particularly in regional areas. Could changing the way you approach learning and development set your business apart as an employer of choice, while also building a leadership culture in your business?
Like me, you’ve probably seen standout line people get promoted on the basis of their performance, only to discover that although they’re good workers, they struggle as managers. When faced with problems they tend to work harder and for longer hours, before ultimately burning out and going hunting for a job that’s less demanding and stressful. Meanwhile, the staff under them are poorly managed and not given proper development opportunities, and there’s an increased chance that they too will leave. And yet this whole vicious cycle started with the intention of giving a promising person an opportunity to take their skills and contribution to the business up to a new level.
This scenario is all too common, and highlights a learning and development void that, when filled, can result in more motivated people, happier teams, better customer service and improved bottom lines.
So, what can you do to ease these transitions, and along the way lose fewer people and create future leaders for your business?
At senior management level, most of us have been exposed to 360-degree feedback, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator profiling and other tools that give us insight into ourselves and equip us to use that information to become better managers and stronger leaders.
If you’re serious about developing the more junior managers and supervisors in your team, it makes sense to offer them similar opportunities. After all, as Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks International put it, “Leadership is about first leading yourself.”
Implementing such programs for teams is not necessarily as costly or as complex as it might sound. One tool that I have found to be very effective is the Everything DiSC tool, which fosters self awareness and helps people lead themselves better as a first step to becoming more effective with their employees and managers. DiSC also teaches you how to recognise other peoples’ styles and adapt your behaviour to manage others more effectively. It works for managers at every level.
Like the better-known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC identifies a person’s primary or preferred style, using four categories: Dominant, Influencing, Steadiness and Conscientious. I’ll go into more detail about the characteristics of each of these styles in a future article, but in summary, all styles are equally valuable, and people with any style can be effective managers.
Watching individuals and teams flourish and transform makes the effort and relatively low expense of implementing a program like DiSC extremely worthwhile.
Equally importantly, learning and development tools like these offer you a valuable opportunity to differentiate your business from other employers in the industry while enhancing the overall skill base of your organisation. At the same time you’ll be giving your brightest stars and the people around them a greater chance of success and a lifelong foundation for their personal and professional development, leading to a win-win situation for both management and staff.

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