Often people are promoted into leadership positions as a result of technical competence or time spent employed in the organisation.
For example, the best designer becomes the lead designer, or Sarah is promoted because she’s been there the longest, and with the promotion comes a raft of additional responsibilities. They do not receive any formal leadership development and so can only model behaviours that they have witnessed in the past. This is one of the underlying principles of the Shadow of the Leader theory, and is not authentic.
Many organisations do this and one of the risks they face by doing so is that poor leadership permeates through the organisation and poor leadership increases staff absence, is instrumental in work related mental health issues and creates high staff turnover; and that’s just for starters.
Whilst these are bad enough, the issues don’t necessarily stop there. So, without wishing to come across all doom and gloom, organisations that do not invest in developing their leaders allow for problems to develop throughout their structures such as: poor decision making, no identification of those with high potential, a lack of talent management and, potentially, toxicity to become a leadership trait.
Leadership is an art that takes time to develop
As individual leaders move from their first leadership position onwards and upwards through organisations, they need regular investment in their skills. Doing so reduces the risks highlighted above and brings significant benefits, which, aside from the antithesis of those negatives previously mentioned, bring huge benefits, too.
People who are led well tend to stay in organisations longer because they feel invested in and that they belong—they’re happier. This creates an increased likelihood that they will offer discretionary effort in their roles, that they will be more resilient when those inevitable unforeseen circumstances arise and, also, they will stay. So what? So you don’t use up valuable budget recruiting and spend time managing staff absences.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that many organisations don’t have the necessary learning and development departments to either deliver, or source external providers of this leadership development training.
This is where I step in!
- Listen to Paul talk about principles of leadership here.