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  • Writer's pictureLia Bălan

L&D Beyond the Leaders

Here’s a thought… how about we focus on all our employees and not just the leaders?

All In

Day to day I work with leaders, helping them be more, achieve more for themselves as well as their teams.

However, how much of that actually impacts the team? How much of the learning that a leader gets from a training or other development tools is actually forwarded to their teams? How much of it remains just a training without practice?

Companies invest immensely in they leaders and potential leaders. Hey, I’ve been there, done that. Truly, I wanted so much to share the learnings.. however fear stopped me. Those “who am I to talk” voices, etc. I don’t think I am alone in this behavior.

So what I propose is that companies look more broadly.

Without coaching, consultancy, mentoring or therapy to accompany a learning, it might just stay that. A learning for one individual.

So why not dig a little deeper, dear companies? Invest in every individual, meaning, make sure that the leaders and their teams are on the same page. Not only on projects / activities / opinions, but also on the learning they receive and the progress they wish to make, as a team as well as individually.

Treasure the wild ducks, enhance your diamonds and keep a mindset of involvement and development.

To come to aid, here are my thoughts on how a systematic approach will improve the performance and make learning not just a checkbox, but an actual turning point for your organization:

  1. Be aware of the system.. is it just the leader that shoulders all the responsibility? I think not. The entire team (employees, leaders, their superiors, clients etc - given a hierarchical organization) is almost equally responsible. Better yet, the more each individual from the team acknowledges their accountability, the better the achievements. Imagine what having them all on the same table, speaking up, would actually mean.

  2. Don’t confuse the job responsibilities with leadership. A leader or manager might be held accountable for their and the team’s actions according to the company policies, however, remember that we can only control our own actions, not the ones of the people around us. So the next time you build that development plan for an employee, keep this in mind. Which brings me to my next point..

  3. Build a culture of trust, empowerment, reliability and inclusion. When looking at one leader in terms of the development you think they might need, look at their entire system, especially their team and the leader of the leader. More often than not, when you identify a development need in a leader, the same (or similar) need reflects within their team and their superiors.

  4. Keep an eye out for the culture. Especially when teams are diverse in terms of their nationality. Back in the day, I took offense in this idea. Age brought me some wisdom and I get it. It’s not personal it’s just that the way we are brought up, the culture of the countries we were born into or the ones we live in differ. It’s a fact. So do a cultural diligence before.

There are more of these ideas that are worth mentioning and debating, but, hey, how do you eat an elephant? In pieces. So here are the starter pieces for constructing a 360 development plan for your people.

One last and critically important thing.. after going through these 4 points, don’t plan ahead by yourself. Talk to the people involved and get their input on what type of development they see that they need.

Happy Coaching and Development everybody!

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