An earlier post listed the 7 Principles of Leadership Development in no specific order of importance:

Exploring lessons learned and how an organization and I developed a leadership development process for high potential employees.

The Chance to Lead

Now that we have an idea of the needed skilled-knowledge, selected who should be involved, began the development of using existing employees as mentors in the leadership development process, a shared strategy, involved the CEO the highest ranking managerial-leader with this leadership development process, giving people the chance to lead was obvious.

principles of leadership development - the chance to lead

Organizations cannot grow leaders. It is nature or God that grows leaders. All that organizations do is to provide some of the necessary conditions for growth, and chief among them is the opportunity to lead. – John Adair

When the Leadership Development team and I met this started as a DUH! we know that people have to have the chance to lead. Do we really need to add this to the process?

After time and exploring how the company was currently set-up and the future 5 year plans. It became apparent. The company does not supply enough chances and needed to grow its managerial-leadership and individual contributor roles to align with the growth happening.

We quickly realized that the chance to lead and have a coaching, mentoring and development system in place is the strongest piece for developing leaders.

Provide opportunities to lead and learn from the experience

Working with the participants managers we developed a series of projects that were aligned with the companies strategic plan and had a sufficient challenge that was big enough to stretch and small enough to learn from.  This was partnered with the other 6 areas of leadership development and the talent pool assessment, focusing on the individual leaders maturation of complexity processing.

After the leadership team projects were identified the leadership development team and the managers of the participants determined specifically what we are looking for and how we will judge the work and application of the leadership development.

These were all real projects that had a high profile in the organization, nothing was made up or pretend work. The emerging leaders had to feel and be seen as contributing and the work allowed them to see what they were good at what needed more coaching and development.

Lessons Learned
  • Leaders grow through their potential to handle more complex projects and being challenged to work to their potential.
  • If a company wants to develop leaders to best opportunity is to give them a chance to lead.
  • The support of coaches, and mentors within the leadership development process is helpful.
  • The most helpful person to develop leaders is the persons direct manager’s manager and direct manager.
  • Leaders at any level benefit from having leaders above them in the organization who can offer encouragement and support. This is what we mean by managers add value to the work of people.
  • It is a mistake to think that a promotion is the only way to develop as a leader.

Now with the people involved in the leadership-development given the chance to lead and learn, CEO and Senior Managerial-Leaders involved, a Strategy for Leadership-Development, the needed Skilled-Knowledge, Selection Process, Managers as Mentors and how we will Educate for Leadership the ~150 potential managerial-leaders, we kept on focusing on what is working and what the next steps will be…

What do you think?

Do you have any examples of how the change to lead supported your efforts to become better? How does your company use the chance to lead as a growth opportunity?

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Reference: John Adair; How to Grow Leaders