Why is Leadership Development important? It’s a question a Leader might find themselves asking when they enter into a Leadership Development Program or setting.
They might also be asking, “why do I need to do this?”, “is what I’m doing not good enough?”.
The level of Cultural Maturity in an organisation is derived from the Leadership within it. Therefore, if you want to enhance the maturity in your business it all starts with how your Leaders lead.
A Leader who never undergoes development can be compared to canoeing down a river with no paddles. If you let people go without any development, you’re not directing the culture you want because no one has the tools they need to steer in the right direction. With no tools, there’s limited effect and ability to influence the canoe. Yes, by chance you might get a good outcome but it’s highly likely that you’ll get stuck on the bank with no way to move forward.
Hence when a Leader undergoes development, they must understand that it’s not just about them; it’s also about their team and the organisation as a whole.
That being said, it is understandable for a Leader to feel like this is a personal process and that their actions and behaviours are being called into question.
This is an assumption that comes when there’s been no context given to the Leader about WHY they’re starting development.
A good Leadership Development provider will articulate this WHY to the Leader/s before the journey starts. This covers why are they doing this development and why is it important.
Director of Barclayss®, John Barclay, says when he provides this context to Leaders, he explains the following:
“How well a team functions really relies on the environment that the Leader creates and that’s not a natural art for everyone. It’s really important for people to understand what they’re already doing well and how to continue doing that but also to understand some of those blind spots or blackholes that we step in to from time to time and how to avoid them. No one is perfect. Everyone has characteristics that can build strong relationships, and everyone’s got characteristics that hinder those relationships. The LDP [Leadership Development Program] the person is embarking on is to help everyone be a better Leader.”
John says there are keen signs that stick out to him when he encounters Leaders who have never received development before:
It’s the fear of the unknown. It’s the whitespace Leaders have. They don’t know what’s coming they don’t know what their gaps are or what’s going to be covered so they want to avoid it entirely.
There’s a perception where the Leader believes because they’ve been promoted to that role that they are doing their best and don’t need development or to do anything differently. They’ve been promoted so they don’t think they need it, and they try to justify that.
Poor cultural maturity is the overarching issue of poor Leadership and improving it the aim of Leadership development. Speaking of a poor culture might be a concept that’s hard to visualise, especially if some people are unaware of it. However, it manifests itself in many ways that are all too recognisable.
Effects and Symptoms of a Poor Culture
- Increased stress
- Sleep impact
- Mental and physical fatigue
- Dependency behaviours
These effects are equally shared between the Leader and their team, hence creating a poor culture throughout the organisation.
Leadership Development is important for many reasons, as described throughout this blog. It’s about the direction of the organisation, the physical and mental health of Leaders and teams but it can also make a Leader’s job a whole lot easier.
The better the Leadership skill an individual has, the easier their job becomes. The environment they’re working in becomes more productive, open and transparent. This enables Leaders to operate at their peak potential, as they’re able to address what needs to be addressed as it comes to hand; making the job of a Leader a rewarding experience.