By Dr Lydia Cillié-Schmidt
In today’s organisations, leadership development is no longer limited to the traditional executive, managerial and supervisory roles. The Modernizing Leadership for a Digital Economy survey (http://learn.skillsoft.com/Website-AR-CLO-Mastering-Leadership-Dev-for-a-Digital-Economy.html) by the Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group in partnership with Skillsoft found that organisational structures require more people at all job levels to be trained in leadership. For example, 86% indicated that employees are assuming leadership roles without a formal leader designation and 95% of survey respondents stated that employees who aren’t currently in a direct supervisory role need leadership skills.
Leadership development therefore covers a much broader spectrum of people in the organisation. Steve Rosenbaum writes in his book, Up to Speed: Secrets of reducing time to proficiency, that just like selling is more than just sales skills, leadership is much more than just leadership skills. Steve goes on to say that leadership is something that you cannot master in a three-day workshop because like everything else it takes practice, coaching and experience.
Josh Bersin supports this sentiment in an online article about leadership development, stating that because “learning to lead” is a long journey for everyone, organisations should facilitate this journey in a strategic, mission-aligned way. Josh continues to explain four key things (the 4 E’s) that should form part of this journey, namely:
- Education: Making sure all leaders know “how to get things done” and “how to lead people.”
- Experience: Learning to lead by doing it.
- Exposure: Observing, talking with, and getting feedback from others.
- Evaluation: Coaching, feedback and other forms of assessment.
The challenge for organisations is to combine these elements in learning journeys that will help to develop leaders faster. According to Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas in an article “The Future of Leadership Development” in the March-April Harvard Business Review the growing assortment of online courses, social and interactive platforms, and learning tools from both traditional institutions and upstarts—which make up what they call the “personal learning cloud” (PLC)—offers a solution. According to them organizations can select components from the PLC and tailor them to the needs and behaviours of individuals and teams.
Although the Personal Learning Cloud is a helpful resource in the development of leaders, organisations should still ensure that their leadership development solutions incorporate the 4 E’s, tailored to the business’ specific needs. The approach followed by Learnings Paths International helps to create learning journeys that specify what the organisation wants the leader to do (putting it in the proficiency definition) and then provide a series of learning activities (including the 4E’s) that will ensure leader proficiency in an accelerated manner.
If you want to know more about the methodology used by Learning Paths International, please feel free to order Steve’s book from firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the Learning Paths Certification workshop presented in Midrand, Gauteng from 23 – 24 October 2019.