Friday, February 10, 2006

Company of Leaders

Leadership development has always been critical for organizations effort in developing its people ability to talk to next levels. We have lot of management development programs being undertaken by corporate to develop the leadership for the next level.

Hay Group and Chief Executive magazine undertook a joint research to find out what today’s companies are doing to develop their leaders and to identify the critical factors that have the most impact. Here’s a brief of the research on insights into the various approaches to developing leaders and outline the practices that distinguish the Best Companies for Leaders from the pack.

According to “The Best Companies for Leaders,” published in the November 2005 issue of Chief Executive, companies may be wasting significant amounts of money on leadership development efforts that have little or no effect on developing the right kind or the right number of leaders.

Hay Group, which conducted the “Best Companies for Leaders” research, found that programs such as rope courses, for example, have little if any impact on a company’s ability to develop leaders. Please don’t misunderstand: Rope courses may improve morale, develop teams, and build bigger biceps. But they don’t seem to spawn high-caliber leaders.

The finding talks about the S e v e n G u i d e l i n e s f o r L e a d e r s h i p D e v e l o p m e n t

Encourage leaders at all levels to create work climates that motivate everyone to perform at their best. Motivational or high-performance climates have a number of common elements: People have a clear idea of where the organization is going and what is expected of them. The individual’s and the organization’s goals are well matched to the capabilities in the company. People get specific, credible feedback on what they need to do to improve and are recognized for excellence. No one feels constrained in doing their best, and they feel accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take.

Make leadership development a priority for everyone involved. Don’t assume it’s simply an HR issue. Of course HR should support the effort. But high-potential employees must be willing to take on the extra work. And, perhaps most important, leadership development works best when the CEO and other senior executives buy in and get personally involved.

Help leadership teams work more effectively together in addition to helping individual leaders improve. The data suggest that companies can improve their leadership ranking when leaders take an active role coaching people on their own teams. In our paper, “Top Teams: Why Some Work and Some Don’t,” we illustrate five conditions for a successful top team: clear, compelling direction; an appropriate structure with well defined boundaries and solid norms; selecting the right people who can work well together; a supportive organizational context such as how people are paid; and providing development in the form of ongoing feedback and team coaching.

Provide job shadowing opportunities for mid-career managers. Continuing on the previous point of broadening perspective, this is a low- to no-cost practice that exposes a company’s high-potential employees to its seasoned leaders.

Ensure that high-potential employees receive 360-degree feedback for leadership development—early on. In the study, organizations that employ 360-degree feedback to develop leaders—beginning early in their careers—rank higher in leadership. To improve performance or change behavior, people need objective feedback from a credible source.

This is consistent with an earlier Hay Group study called “Executive Blind Spots”: As executives rise in an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others see them and they often lose touch with those they lead. They often stop receiving the candid feedback they need to self-correct.

Assure that mid-level managers have the time to participate in leadership development early in their careers. At companies such as P&G, senior executives believe their best hope for future leaders is in the ranks of today’s mid-level managers. They need time to grow and learn, while being kept engaged in their jobs. The best companies for leaders devote twice the amount of time (6-10 days vs. 3-5 days a year on average) for developmental activities.

Provide external coaches for senior managers. Research suggests internal coaches are not as effective as external coaches for senior managers. That may be because most internal coaches come from a lower level of management than those whom they coach. Considering that dynamic, it is easy to understand why some internal coaches may be intimidated and some senior managers uninterested in getting coaching from someone lower in the organization than they are. For senior managers, being coached by people they view as peers add the most value.

No comments: