The research and training I’m doing has made me realize that it’s not enough to train someone to be a better leader, you have to give them a forum in which to lead. You have to give them a structure within which they can use their skills and behaviours. You need to give them a leadership process.
If you want leaders to do a better job setting vision,don’t make them do workshops on goal setting, make them spend more time on writing good job descriptions. Employees need to know what the company’s mission is and what their place is in meeting that mission. That’s what a job description does.
If you want leaders to communicate better,don’t send them to a class on public speaking or writing, make them hold regular meetings and write regular reports. Employees need to know what’s going on elsewhere in the company and understand the context and reasons for decisions and that is the function of meetings and reports.
If you want leaders to delegate and not micromanage, don’t send them to delegation workshops, make them develop metrics for themselves and each member of their team. Employees need metrics so they know what is expected of them, so they know if they are doing a good job and so that their leader can delegate with comfort. That is the function of metrics.
If you want leaders to be better motivators, don’t give them books to read on motivation, make them develop a system of praise and rewards. Employees need recognition and praise and that is the function of a rewards system.
If you want leaders to be better coaches, don’t make them watch a video on coaching, make them hold weekly casual meetings and monthly formal meetings with each staff member individually. Employees need to talk about their progress regularly and have an opportunity to learn and grow and that is the function of individual coaching sessions.
The irony of the situation is not lost on me. I have spent my life focusing on process and I’ve come full circle, even on leadership, realizing that without a leadership process, you won’t get good leadership.