Research attests that leadership development directly influences organizational performance. Leadership development expands the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles within organizations. It also boosts employee engagement, increases the organization’s ability to align talent, and empowers others in working at peak performance.
Leadership development is not just about developing leaders. It is about creating a culture of ownership, accountability and outcomes.
One of the communication distinctions we show leaders is their human wiring. We have found the greater their awareness about how they are naturally wired paired with other proven leadership distinctions, the more effective they are in:
-Managing their natural impulses that can get in the way of effectively working with others;
-Listening in a new way that allows them to communicate authentically and effectively; and
-Increasing the leader’s capacity to have generative conversations that enroll high-performance talent, investors, and strategic relationships.
When we work with leaders who own businesses at our Wake Up Profitable Boot Camp for Business Owners, the first step is Mastering Your Inner Entrepreneur. It’s based on the premise that as you develop the inside, the outside changes. Most people think if the economy or circumstances on the outside change, then I’ll be successful, happy, etc. However, in our 20 years developing leaders, we have found that when a leader looks into their limiting belief systems and understands their unique wiring, they begin to see how they’ve been disempowered or got in the way of their own outcomes.
It reminds me of the story of a gentleman who was always upset. He was authoritative in his communication style often directing someone, “you need to do this”. He was naturally wired to create and act on his own ideas. He liked his ideas best and he didn’t experience any awareness training so he didn’t realize that he often dismissed other people’s ideas.
While he achieved financial results, he often rubbed others the wrong way leaving others disempowered. One day he was complaining about how the fulfillment department didn’t produce a client’s order to specs. In that moment, he articulated his limiting belief upon which he took action, “these people are so stupid.”
Imagine leading with the belief of “these people are so stupid.” Whether he articulates it or not, this negative belief is in his space with every interaction. With each breakdown, he will look for evidence at how others are inadequate. Add on that he is naturally wired to create and act on his own ideas believing his ideas are the best ideas. Add on to that if he is creating a story or making an assumption about the breakdown that they aren’t listening or doing what he says.
His impulsive reaction is to:
1. Jump to a conclusion
2. Blame others, to point out the shortcomings of others, and to get upset.
3. Not consider his own accountability or responsibility in the breakdown
The reason fixing problems often doesn’t deliver expected outcomes is that the result is only solved at the superficial level. What’s often left untouched are the underlying dynamics that perpetuate the problem. In this case, the fulfillment problem might be solved short term using a directive/authoritative approach, only to have the problem recur causing other employee relation issues.
Imagine what might be available for him as a leader, for the team and the organization if he:
1. Chooses to be curious vs. upset.
Instead of jumping to a conclusion and getting upset, chose to be curious inviting others to provide input. If you’re wired for instant results, tap into your inner patience. Avoid trying to solve why the breakdown occurred; instead, ask questions and invite feedback. Often times leaders try to fix and troubleshoot rather than engage others. They then feel that they have the weight of the decision making. When you come in and fix situations, you are creating a culture where people go to you for the answers. When you engage them in asking for help in solving the problem, you level up their problem-solving skills.
2. Shifts his own negative belief.
You’ve heard of the Pygmalion Effect where Rosenthal and Jacobsen focused on an experiment at an elementary school where students took intelligence pre-tests. They informed the teachers of the names of twenty percent of the students in the school who were showing “unusual potential for intellectual growth” and would bloom academically within the year. Unknown to the teachers, these students were selected randomly with no relation to the initial test. When students were tested eight months later, they discovered that the randomly selected students who teachers thought would bloom scored significantly higher. Why does the Pygmalion effect occur?
If you think your team can’t achieve very much, are not too bright, you may be inclined to not develop them, give simple assignments, and create a recurring cycle ending up with the same results. Shift your internal belief and interact with the staff as capable, reliable, and trustworthy and watch what different ideas are generated, actions are taken, and outcomes are achieved.
Underdeveloped leaders collapse a situation and make a judgment: The client order is incorrect, and the person is a/an (insert name calling). This reactionary collapse of what’s happening does little more than put people on the defensive, give the impression you don’t care, and set the stage for conflict. If you want to influence a change on the outside, you must first change the inside. Will breakdowns occur? Maybe. And, how you show up matters in shifting the trajectory and frequency of the breakdowns.
3. Takes full ownership in producing the possibility-based outcome.
Many company cultures that are built on the broke/fix model use the blame/shame/guilt/name calling when a breakdown occurs. This rise to judgement does nothing to level up the team.]In a broke/fix culture, finger pointing is the norm.
In creating a possibilities-based culture, however, he would take full ownership. It might start with asking himself questions, such as, did I:
-Work with and communicate appropriately and timely with the other department?
-Train my team appropriately?
-Put in a quality control system?
-Performed ongoing training for the team to reinforce the standards?
-Regularly meet cross-departmentally to proactively create a seamless fulfillment process?
4. Enrolls others in a possibility.
In a broke/fix culture, people approach the breakdown from something is broken, rather than possibilities-based of what are they striving to live into. In a possibilities model, you first develop a possibility. In this case, the possibility they are striving for might be: Perfect Orders. To achieve Perfect Orders, a leader can ask what is missing that if we put it in would help us achieve the outcome?
New beliefs. New ways of showing up. New context. New possibilities.
Try one of these shifts in your company and see what happens.