How to Boost Your Leadership Development Program

27th September 2018

Look for the sparkle.

Consider what makes you good at a task or skill… Is it your natural talent? Is it watching someone else perform that skill? Maybe it’s being told how to do something? All of these factors may add to your knowledge, but the real key to developing a depth of understanding and application is through practice. Yes, some of us have natural talents, but honing skills takes hours, sometimes years, of practice.

Unfortunately, we tend to be more motivated to, more engaged in, and more adept at practicing things when we implicitly enjoy doing them than if they are tasks in which we hold little or no interest. Developing your leadership team is no different. Naturally, in life, there are things we have to do in which we can also develop aptitude, but it’s human nature to spend more time and effort doing the things that make us sparkle than things that we need to do to check a box. Ultimately, when it comes to learning and developing ourselves, feeling something already is far more powerful than being trained to feel that way.

Don’t train, develop.

Research from McKinsey found that “successful leadership developers were around three times more likely to allow participants to build on a strength rather than correcting a development area.” Unfortunately, many leadership development programs tend to focus their training in areas where people are struggling rather than on elevating their strengths. Programs often try to fit the leader to the role instead of fitting the role to the leader. In doing so leaders are likely to disengage because they do not have the opportunity to showcase their true value. The trick is accessing those implicit and unconscious desires so we know what to develop to keep engagement high.

Truly understand mindsets.

McKinsey also found that one of the key factors causing leadership training to fail is “underestimating mindsets”  or, assuming we understand what a person is thinking and feeling and, therefore, how they will behave and make decisions both now and after training and development. Unfortunately, as this article also states, “identifying some of the deepest, “below the surface” thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and beliefs is usually a precondition of behavioral change—one too often shirked in development programs.” The article goes on to describe the positive behavioural change impacts that come out of accessing and understanding deep-seated mindsets and values.

Dig deeper for stronger insight.

We know from recent neuroscience research that the majority of human behavior is driven by brain processes that operate below conscious awareness. Unfortunately, traditional surveys only tap into the conscious drivers of behaviours and decision making and fail to uncover the deeper unconscious values and motivations that truly drive us. With traditional research methods, we often only discover what people want to share; not what they truly think and believe. Using implicit methods we can get to the core of the individual’s strengths and values and how they align with the organizations’ agendas, allowing us to play to those strengths and needs. Once we’re aware of  those true feelings and motivations we can use many of the methods now in use to develop our leaders; coaching, on the job experience, shadowing, or self-reflection for example, but with deeper, real data about the leaders the methods have more chance at bringing about successful behavior change.

Use the right tools.

Our psychological Neopic tools measure these implicit, unconscious attitudes, motivations and values so they provide much richer data than traditional surveys. To add to the effectiveness of our approach, our tools use images instead of words because research tells us that the human brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than it does text and because images are more invigorating and motivating resulting in output that is more meaningful and insightful.

Don’t stop there.

Having a better understanding of your leaders is half the battle, but understanding the critical drivers of your business’ performance is also key. Our fully bespoke Emotix tool can help you to gain a 360-degree view of your consumer or employee emotions and attitudes to access what’s happening within your organization or affecting your customers. The result is that you can tailor your leadership development strategies to meet the deeper needs of your leaders, employees and consumers all at the same time.


Author: Innovationbubble