n our rapidly evolving world of work, organizations must continuously develop a robust portfolio of leaders who are ready to engage employees, push forward growth strategies, drive innovation, and work directly with customers.
As much as the leadership buzzword is around since decades, recent HR research finds that organizations are having a difficult time finding people with desired leadership skills. It seems that leaders are missing the soft skills needed to move away from command-and-control ways of leading to a more dynamic, democratic leadership style. The largest leadership skills gaps (between current vs needed employee skills), were soft skills such as strategic planning, change management, knowledge sharing, listening and emotional intelligence. Training your leadership acumen will undoubtdly give you a huge competitive advantage and help build your vocation, no matter if you are office-bound or self-employed.
Leadership is the activity of leading a group of people or an organization or the ability to do this. Leadership involves:
Gaps between needed and current leadership skills (source: APQC, 2014)
Why do many leadership programs fail?
The answer is simple: There is a massive difference between what we know about leadership and what we do as leaders.
What makes leadership hard isn’t the theoretical, it’s the practical. It’s not about knowing what to say or do. It’s about whether you’re willing to experience the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of saying or doing it.
In other words, the critical challenge of leadership is, mostly, the challenge of emotional courage.
Emotional courage means:
- standing apart from others without separating yourself from them
- speaking up when others are silent
- remaining steadfast, grounded, and measured in the face of uncertainty
- responding productively to political opposition — even bad-faith backstabbing — without getting sidetracked, distracted, or losing focus
- staying in the discomfort of a colleague’s anger without shutting off or becoming defensive
These are the things that distinguish powerful leaders from weak ones. You can’t learn those from reading a book, taking a personality test, or sitting safely in a classroom.
The goal of any leadership development program is to change behavior. After a successful program, participants should show up differently, saying and doing things in new ways that produce better results.
By that measure, many leadership trainings fail. While almost always fun, interesting, engaging, and filled with valuable, research-based content, they fail the test of significant and sustained behavior change that produces better results after the program.
Here’s why: We’re teaching the wrong things in the wrong ways.
If the challenge of leadership is emotional courage, then emotional courage is what we need to teach. You can’t just learn about communication, you have to do it, in the heat of the moment, when the pressure is on, and your emotions are high.
Here is how we work
We teach leadership in a way that requires emotional courage.
The only way to teach courage is to require it of people. Let them draw from the courage they already have, step into real situations they find uncomfortable, and truly connect with the sensations. The more they take risks to be vulnerable, to communicate hard things, to listen to hard things, to try a new behavior — the more they will take those same risks in real life, when it matters most. In a skillful, respectful, and powerful way. That’s leadership. That’s emotional courage. And exercising that muscle is what develops powerful leaders.
We provide guidance and tools for lasting change
Profoundly understand each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Gain specific, complete knowledge about situations our clients wish to change. Then wisely guide people by asking facilitating questions, but have them come up with solutions themselves. Providing basic tools, but letting them find concrete ways to behave in situations, allowing them to lastingly develop skills and change behaviour.