Develop your leadership

By Mark Shead 5 Comments Leadership trait theory is the idea that people are born with certain character traits or qualities. Since certain traits are associated with proficient leadership, it assumes that if you could identify people with the correct traits, you will be able to identify leaders and people with leadership potential. From this standpoint, leadership trait theory tends to assume that people are born as leaders or not as leaders.

Develop your leadership

Develop your leadership

Cultivate Talent Champions Step 2: Co-create Individualized Development Plans Step 4: Follow Through on Development Plans Step 1: Cultivate Talent Champions Line managers are key players in the leadership development process.

They work with high-potential leadership candidates every day and, assuming they follow the model, oversee 90 percent of their development through on-the-job learning and individual coaching and mentoring. So the first task of senior leaders is to develop line managers into "talent champions" — a term we borrowed from the Corporate Leadership Council that denotes managers who recognize the vital importance of developing a cadre of potential leaders and take responsibility for preparing them to lead.

The Corporate Leadership Council has found that in the corporate world, talent champions outperform their peers in meeting business goals, delivering an average of 6 percent higher revenue and 7 percent higher profits.

Develop your leadership

But the Corporate Leadership Council also has found that only 19 percent of managers in the corporate world might be characterized as talent champions. See " How many talent champions does your organization have? One of the most powerful ways is to visibly recognize talent champions for their success.

This type of soft accountability or peer pressure can have an even greater impact than formal job requirements, particularly when recognition is coupled with coaching and training in areas where managers are struggling. Support is especially important when working with first-time managers or managers making the transition from managing individuals to managing groups.

Their prior experiences may not have prepared them to think of themselves as talent developers, and they may require help in changing their work habits and time allocations to make room for their new responsibilities.

Once you have identified the gaps, you and your senior leadership team can study the organizational calendar and pinpoint the special projects, cross-cutting initiatives, board presentations, and other opportunities for future leaders to gain practical experience.

The key is to identify activities that your organization already performs. The day-to-day work of your organization offers ample opportunity to put your rising stars in leadership situations, at little cost and with minimal disruption to your operations.

You could assign a leadership candidate to make a presentation to your board or to important stakeholders, for example, or place several candidates on a cross-functional task force. Whatever the assignment, the Corporate Leadership Council recommends that, for maximum effectiveness, the opportunities involve four elements: Discomfort — Assignments should take candidates out of their comfort zones and call on skills other than those they have already mastered.

Accountability — Candidates must take ownership of their assignments and be held responsible for the results of their work. Clarity — The lesson the assignment is intended to teach should be clear to the candidate.

These development discussions can be integrated into the performance-evaluation process, which is a natural setting for discussing the skills that staff members need to advance in the organization. See " Y sample development plan " for a template the Y-USA has created to help managers and staffers formulate development plans and fit them within the framework.

When managers and individual staffers have agreed on development needs and singled out two or three priorities to focus on during the upcoming review cycle, they can turn their attention to a plan to address these needs.

In our discussions with nonprofits, we hear repeatedly that the most effective plans are the product of a true collaboration. Follow Through on Development Plans The senior leadership of your organization has a vital role to play in tracking the implementation of development plans and sharing their findings with the managers and staffers responsible for them.

Project-based nonprofits, for example, might want to schedule reviews to coincide with major milestones in the project cycle. And it may be necessary to check in regularly with individuals who are struggling to fulfill their plans or who have just taken on significant new leadership responsibilities.

Share This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available in our Terms and Conditions.

Evaluate and Improve Your Leadership

More Articles To Read.Here are 11 tips and strategies to implement in your daily life at work so to improve your leadership skills and become a better leader. Leadership is primarily learned by doing.

In this article, adapted from Chapter 3 of Bridgespan's Nonprofit Leadership Development: What's Your "Plan A" for Growing Future Leaders?, we look at four steps you and your organization can take to help promising future leaders learn how to lead while on the job.

Take time to sharpen your sense of self and your sense of direction. Navigate ocean channels and group dynamics. Build your outdoor skills and your leadership skills.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in leadership, team development, and personal and organizational change. The tools and methods Dr. Allen offers have helped hundreds of companies, and tens of thousands of people, transform the ways they work and live.

Leadership trait theory is the idea that people are born with certain character traits or qualities. Since certain traits are associated with proficient leadership, it assumes that if you could identify people with the correct traits, you will be able to identify leaders and people with leadership potential.

Radical Candor means Challenging Directly and showing you Care Personally at the same time. It will help you and your team do the best work of your lives.

Top 11 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills