Here’s How Leadership Development Programs Get It Wrong – Forbes

Here’s How Leadership Development Programs Get It Wrong – Forbes

Leadership Development Program

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If you examine leadership training courses from a few years ago, the agenda divides into two halves – sessions devoted to professional mastery – management, strategy, and vision-setting – and sessions devoted to personal development – assessing strengths and weaknesses, dealing with leadership overwhelm, or improving interpersonal communications. It’s as if two different people are showing up to be trained – one a performance-driven executive, the other a human being. This segregated view of leaders, and how they should be developed, is no longer relevant. Moreover, it’s detrimental. Massive disruptions to the workplace are upending the role of leaders and demand an integration of both the performance and human aspects of leadership.

With new hybrid workplaces, employees are looking for leaders who can make tough decisions and drive results, but at the same time create an environment which provides flexibility, connection, and a sense of belonging. It’s no longer sufficient to just focus on one type of leadership. Leaders need to do and be both.

Both / And Leadership

Potential Project

What Does Both/And Leadership Look Like?

The warped speed at which the world of work is changing has already forced leaders to pivot fast, take bolder actions and make decisions quickly. Leaders need to perform like never before with speed, drive and expertise. These performance factors for leaders need to be well-honed and at the ready. But these are no longer enough.

As hybrid work revolutionizes the workplace, employees are grappling with overwhelm, disconnection and anxiety, and 41% are considering leaving their organization. The blurring boundaries between work and home are driving exhaustion; the realities of physical distance are causing disconnection and mistrust; the perpetual uncertainty is leading to anxiety and fear. With this backdrop, a new set of people-centered leadership qualities are paramount:

  • Sustainability: How to lead others to execute without driving burnout.
  • Openness: How to respond adaptively to change and uncertainty and help others to do the same.
  • Vulnerability: How to show your own weaknesses and fears to make it safe for others to be vulnerable too.
  • Optimism: How to inspire hope by focusing on possibilities even while accepting realities as they are.

When leaders are able to practice these very human traits and embed them into their standard management approaches, a whole world of opportunity opens up for both the leader and the organization. Recently, Potential Project released the findings from a large study of 2000 global leaders across 15 industries. We looked at the interaction of performance factors – the ability to do the hard things of leadership – with human factors – the ability to show compassion and care for others. What we found is that when leaders are able to do the hard things in a human way, employee job satisfaction increases by 86%, job performance increases by 20%, and burnout improves by 64%.

Becoming a Both/And Leader

Bill George once said, “the hardest person you will ever lead is yourself.” This is especially true when pressures mount, and time shrinks. During those times, …….