Leading by example

Are the UK’s organisations geared up to create tomorrow’s leaders?

Creating tomorrow’s leaders is about recognising that leaders exist today, and that we don’t have to wait until tomorrow.

Fundamentally, leaders are people who put leadership into practice. Good leadership comes from what a leader believes, how they behave and how they operate. However, the problem is that organisations do not develop future leaders to understand who they are and how they impact on others. They give leaders knowledge and expect them to change their core beliefs and behaviours as a result. This will not happen.

Training departments are asked to evaluate knowledge-based interventions. Stop measuring these outputs; the number of people on courses, the quality of taught learning, the number of courses run each year, or training spent per head.

Stop spending training budgets on improving knowledge about leadership and spend it on putting mechanisms in place to ensure that thinking turns into action.

Focus on the 80 per cent of learning that comes through practice, on-the-job experience, feedback, coaching, and mentoring. At the heart of every organisation there should be a stringent follow-up process, strong performance managers and coaching networks. We must use the leaders of today to create the leaders of tomorrow.

Leadership behaviours are often cited as being difficult to develop. This is because core competencies often exist for staff but leadership competencies are reserved for managers, as is leadership development.

Subscribe to the belief that a leader can exist without being a manager, and then leadership skills and results can be developed from the start of a career.

At Complete Leadership, we open up leadership development to all staff. We help employees understand who they are and how they impact on others, and we measure leadership thinking and actions in performance management processes. We treat leadership as a natural ability and not a bolt-on to management skills.

The earlier an organisation recognises the need to develop leaders through encouraging leadership at all levels, then the easier it will beto create the managers who can actually lead.

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