Most Important Guidelines to Adhere to in Leadership Development

Following our recent post, ‘Secrets of Leadership Development in Corporate Environments’, I got feedback from several training professionals who chimed in with their feedback.  I posted some below.  Enjoy!

Lester Stephenson, a Training & Development specialist, said that the three most important guidelines in leadership development are:

1. Get to know your people
2. Take care of your people
3. Treat your people fairly, not equally, but fairly.

When you take care of your people, your people will take care of you!

Kris Ridings, Relationship Manager at Varnum Consulting, said:

Be careful not to put the cart in front of the horse. Begin with self-awareness. The leader-to-be needs an understanding of their natural strengths as well as a clear picture of the areas that will require them to exert extra energy and focus to be successful.

L. Keith Jordan, Founder and CEO at LKJ Enterprises, contributed his 3 most important guidelines:

1. Remove ego (at least as much as practical). Driven leaders can also be egotistical workers. They believe they are good because they are good — and this self-confidence can help propel their success as workers. Successful leaders, however, understand that leadership requires something more than their own productivity. They understand that they lead others by their permission and not by divine right. 

2. Don’t forget that those you lead have brains, talent, experience, insight, and problem-solving skills in addition to hands and feet. Top-down structure is important to set the corporate tone and culture, but bottom-up structure is important to problem-solving, a productive environment, and a satisfied workforce. By helping those you lead to learn what you know, you leverage what they know into something much more. 

3. To be effective, a leader must walk a line between being popular and being in control. As a leader, you must be viewed as the one to make the final call, no matter how affable your relationship with those you lead. That status comes from the perception of those being led, not from the insistence of those leading (see point number 1), and such respect is in great measure gained from practicing points 1 and 2.

Finally, Chris Slater, Director of Learning & Development:

1) Know that it is impossible to develop every aspect of leadership in any given course. Most competencies associated with leadership take 18-24 months to move from a basic awareness to solid mastery. They need time to practice political savvy in a low-risk environment in order to succeed. 

2) Understand those facets of leadership (i.e. conflict management, business acumen, etc.) that are most critical to success in the current and next role. Not everyone is going to need negotiation skills at the mastery level, but most will need to understand how to motivate employees through encouragement, rewards, and even consequences. 

3) Embrace the concept of letting leaders find their own way. There are so many theories and styles because people are so diverse in their abilities. Let them pick from that buffet, giving them the tools and skills needed to success.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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