Five Practical Ways to Develop Leaders

Document created by 1049487 on Sep 28, 2015Last modified by 1049487 on Mar 10, 2017
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Tom_Sheehan_news.jpgStudies have shown that having a formal, comprehensive development plan (as opposed to a series of improvised development assignments) is the most effective method of lasting development. That is why it is critical that HR professionals embrace the use of Individual Development Plans (IDP).


The IDP formalizes the development ‘contract’ between the leader and the organization. It also serves as a constant reminder of the development commitments that the leader has agreed to. For a sample IDP, visit the Individual Development Plan Template on myCAI.


Use the following five (5) items as development activities that can be incorporated into the IDP:


1) Implement action learning programs


Action learning leadership development programs are designed to develop core leadership skills that align with the company’s strategy (and culture) while making a measurable impact on the business in strategic areas that matter most.


Use the 70-20-10 Development Assignment Form (found in the 70-20-10 Development Assignments: TM-3 as a way to allow individuals to sort through their development options.


2) Facilitate real-world problem solving


People who work on and solve real company problems learn faster, are more engaged, receive more support and impact the business.  Effective action learning means selecting the right projects and the right project teams that can improve their leadership skills while moving the business forward.


To gauge your success on any action learning leadership development program, always strive to measure and move at least one of the following key metrics:


  • Sales revenue, margin, win rate, portfolio mix, deal size, and sales cycle.
  • Customer acquisition, loyalty, growth, and satisfaction.
  • Leadership execution effectiveness of key corporate strategies.
  • Employee attraction, development, performance, engagement and retention.


3) Utilize stretch and job rotation assignments


Key elements of a really good stretch assignment include taking on unfamiliar responsibilities, inherited problems, influencing without authority, and working across cultures.


Rotational assignments also help individuals to broaden their perspective and foster attainment of new skills and experiences. They are designed to expose employees to a wide range of cross-functional operations. Typically, these assignments are 4 to 6 months in duration.


4) Take advantage of peer learning


Most often characterized as leaders 'learning from other leaders' on the team in the same situation, peer learning can take many forms in successful action learning and leadership development programs. Common options include buddy systems, collaborative learning cells, project teams, simulations, targeted study groups, peer-assessment and feedback systems.


CAI has several peer learning groups comprised of a cross-section of members. These groups typically consist of HR leaders that are on a similar career level, allowing for a better shared experience.


5) Make use of 360 degree assessments


360 degree feedback is a method and a tool that provides each employee the opportunity to receive performance feedback from his or her supervisor and four to more peers, direct reports, coworkers and customers. Most 360 degree feedback tools include a self-assessment.


Should you have any questions regarding Leadership Development please feel free to contact me at 919-325-4113.

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