Clearly, I am a bit proponent of training and development. Particularly when it comes to leadership development. I fully believe the more leaders are given development opportunities, the better the organization overall.
I will fight anyone to the death who feels differently.
Many times businesses, especially smaller organizations, feel they don’t have the time or budget to implement any type of training. They also think that their smaller size automatically promotes open communication and deeper relationships so what do they have to develop anyway?
Even if a full leadership development program isn’t in the cards, there are three topics every leader should have to attend. They are listening skills, self-awareness and delegating/empowering.
Oh man, are we bad at this. I mean in general, as humans. We are insanely bad at listening. Of course, some of us are better than others, but let’s be honest for a moment, none of us are knocking this out of the park.
Here’s the thing about listening skills. Fundamentally, we all know what to do. Nothing that comes out of a listening skills workshop is rocket science.
But we all need constant reminders to listen more.
As leaders, we have to be able to turn off all the noise that hits us and truly listen to our employees. I’m sure we can all agree that so many workplace issues would have never been issues had there been better communication. More often than not, that better communication would have included better listening.
If I had a nickel for every time a leader said to me, “this is just the way I am,” I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Most of the time when they say this it’s to serve as an excuse for a behavior they do not want to change. “This is the way I am,” thinking says to employees that the leader is not interested in any kind of personal growth and the employee can either take it or leave it.
They leave it.
Leadership development opportunities that offer self-awareness into how the leader communicates, likes to work, organizes their day should be given as often as possible. These sessions should offer the leader a chance to better understand their strengths and blind spots.
The biggest part about self-awareness is that it teaches more adaptability of ourselves to those around us rather than expecting everyone to just adapt to us.
In this business, we use the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to help with self-awareness. There are of course a myriad of other options that could work, but it’s important that it focuses on the individual and allows for a significant amount of introspection.
Another seemingly basic subject, but one that leaders often need to be reminded of. As I spend my days with leaders across various organizations, I find that so much of leaders angst is of their own doing. Leaders are busy, no doubt about that, but that business is often because they have not delegated properly or empowered their team to make decisions or take risks without them.
Leaders must learn what work they must do and what work they can delegate. Further, they have to get to a place where they feel comfortable not having to make all the decisions themselves. If they can not figure out how to spread the work and decision making power around, they will burn out and never make the difference they likely intended.
Training about delegation techniques and methods to better empower employees is essential to a leaders success and ultimate well being.
As I said, none of these topics are earth-shattering. They are topics we have likely heard training on before, but they all serve as areas we need constant reminders about. Finding ways to incorporate training on these topics as often as possible will help leaders create habits around them that positively impact the business as a whole.
Originally published on Acacia HR Solutions blog.