Developing leaders and building soft skills is at the top of agenda for many organizations. But how do you personalize the development process for every leader in your company? You can’t offer executive coaching to everyone and the traditional classroom or e-learning “one-size-fits-all” format is just not enough anymore.

Technology is quickly changing the face of HR and nowhere it’s as apparent as in leadership

In his research and testing of nearly 800 executives for his bestselling book The Leader Habit, Martin Lanik discovered the behaviours that effective leaders practice when they mentor and coaching. To turn these behaviours into habits requires deliberate practice – on average 66 days. Here are Lanik’s top tips:

  1. Identifying Development Needs?
    The only way to truly personalize leadership development is to first understand the person’s
    individual strengths and development needs. Without an assessment, you’re shooting in the dark.
    There are many different assessment options on the market and most rely on self-report. But any
    self-report test will be biased by the person’s level of self-awareness; and we know that majority of
    us are not very accurate when it comes to identifying our own strengths and weaknesses (Atkins &
    Wood, 2002). Some assessments, however, test actual skills in a simulated environment and so
    provide a more accurate measure of the person’s development needs. Using a combination of inbox
    exercises and role-plays, you can easily measure every leader in your organization using a
    streamlined, one-hour virtual assessment center that will cost about as much a couple of self-report
    personality tests.
  2. Focusing on Knowledge or Behaviour Change?
    Many micro-learning apps focus on acquisition of knowledge. They present instructional text or
    videos in small chunks. Although knowledge of leadership is important, it doesn’t necessarily transfer
    into leadership skills. For instance, I could be watching YouTube videos of piano playing instruction
    all day long, but it won’t make me a concert pianist – not until I start actually practising. So how do
    you practise leadership on a daily basis? You break down the skill into its individual components, and
    you practice each micro-behaviour until it becomes ingrained and automatic – until it becomes a
    habit. Then you move on to the next micro-behaviour and you build the skill by combining those
    micro-behaviours together.
    Knowing where your gaps are allows you to focus on the micro-behaviours where you’ll see the
    biggest improvement and fastest growth.
  3. Are You Measuring Improvement?
    How do you know that the leadership development process is working and leaders are really
    improving? The ultimate measure of success of any training and development intervention is
    behaviour change. But that’s not easy to assess. However, modern technologies, like artificial
    intelligence, can estimate improvement from different variables.

Janice Caplan
© Janice Caplan 2019
4 June 2019