It’s time to bring leadership development to life. As a subject, it can be hard to talk or write about, because every organisation has its own story. It wants its leaders to behave in a certain and unique way, while the leaders themselves will understandably have their own ideas for their development. This brings a sense of complexity, yet it also heralds a new and exciting era for those who get it right. The new utopia is embodied in what we at 10Eighty call Everyday Leaders – we’ve launched a page on it on our website today.
A true Everyday Leader understands what the organisation wants, has clear personal plans that balance the needs of the business and their own careers and, crucially, knows how to embed good leadership habits in themselves and others through what they say and do – not just for today and tomorrow, but for the rest of their working lives.
Everyday Leaders are a reflection of the cult of the individual we see in society. As consumers, we are now so used to the personalisation of sales to our specific needs that perhaps we only truly appreciate it on the increasingly rare occasions when it is not on offer – choice is now the expectation, not the aspiration. Yet the personalisation of leadership development has lagged a long way behind, more talked about than practised. This is because the traditional views of leadership development have become bogged down in the premise that there is a single “right” way to lead and succeed – and that this can be applied successfully in a single intervention.
Today’s truth is very different. Leadership development can only be brought to life by understanding the unique context to which it needs to be applied, the personal development that each leader needs and wants and the assurance that leadership learning is becoming fully embedded through daily practice.
To understand the context is essential. There are perfectly good leadership models to work with, as long as the organisation can use them to state clearly what it is that it uniquely wants from its leaders. The resulting customised leadership development programmes need to match strategic needs and be delivered in a style that fits the culture.
Then the successful delivery of leadership development requires a careful balance between business needs and the personal needs of each leader. The latter in turn needs to develop the self-awareness to know how to apply their development productively both to their job and their career.
Finally, the Everyday Leader is only truly born when learning is embedded by daily practice. This means action plans that embed new skills and knowledge – and which encourage organisations to make it easy for them to do so.
Leadership development has never felt so complex – yet neither has it felt so rewarding to us when delivered well. Go and have a look at our website to find out why the potential for those Everyday Leaders who get it right has never been more exciting.