Our programmes often start with an education of the changing role of the manager, exploring and understanding the expectations of managers. This helps capture the “hearts and minds”, enabling managers to recognise the benefits for them and the teams they lead. This can be an integration into your own in house programme, or we can design a bespoke programme for you with one of our respected partners.
Our “3 Gets” framework steps managers through the process of laying the right foundations. By setting clear goals, roles and responsibilities followed by the ability to create a psychologically safe environment and finally a process for reflection, learning and courageous conversations with their team. It’s a proven way to give managers both an understanding of why it’s worth investing time in their team and the knowledge and confidence to coach their team through challenges.
We don’t subscribe to the view that there is one type of leader. The approach to leadership will vary according to different factors: the situation, the strengths and style of the leader, the team or organization they lead.
But, the context in which leaders are operating has changed and the pace of that change is accelerating. Business models are being disrupted by competitors and by technology. The people that we lead have different expectations compared to ten or even five years ago. So most leaders must adapt.
Leader and the team
A “heroic leader” is much less often the answer. As Peter Hawkins has said "the world has moved beyond the time when the major challenges could be met by the great individual leader. Human beings have created a world of such complexity, global interdependence, of continuous and fast-moving change, that leadership is beyond the scope of the individual and requires more high-performing collective-leadership teams."
Teams solve the greatest challenges today, not individuals. Yet as Edgar Schein, who has studied organisations and culture his whole life notes: “We have built our system on individual performance. The result of the cultural bias is that most leaders are shockingly incompetent in running meetings or creating teams. Yet they depend on teamwork.”
Leader as coach
Leaders now need to do less directing and more coaching. In his book “the Trillion Dollar coach” Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, writes: “It’s not possible or practical to hire a coach for every team in the company, not is it the right answer, because the best coach for any team is the manager who leads the team. Coaching is no longer a speciality; you cannot be a good manager without being a good coach.”
Being a good coach means coaching team members one on one. Empathising with team members and finding ways to enable each individual to perform at their best. But great coaches also know how to coach the team together. They set direction. Team’s develop a clear sense of purpose and develop shared goals. A coach is able to be agile in responding to change. They are able to experiment, test ideas and learn from failure as well as success. They encourage team members to participate in this process of testing and learning. These are the types of leaders we specialise in creating.
Rethinking how we train our leaders & what we teach.
The traditional model of training leaders is broken. As indicated in HBR, "organizations that collectively spend billions of dollars annually to train current and future executives are growing frustrated with the results.”
The disciplines we teach must relate to the future of work and the future of humanity. Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba says that it’s crazy to learn skills where humans have limited competitive advantage. We don't want to compete with machines. He emphasises the importance of teamwork and nurturing creativity.
We must rethink how we develop leaders. Traditional leadership teaching often fails because of the “transfer of knowledge gap”. As the HBR article notes “Few executives seem to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to their jobs”.
Many Executives and HR leaders feel they have an impossible choice. Traditional leadership and management schemes are often very expensive, take time to set up and are difficult to scale. The alternative is not to provide training at all.
But there are new approaches to developing the leaders we need. We maintain the best of what has gone before but apply behavioural science to help us understand how new habits form and then use technology to deliver nudges and prompts to increase the effectiveness of training at scale.
Come and discuss with us what this future looks like.