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Assess Your Leadership Development

Assess Your Leadership Development

Dan McCarthy | Great Leadership

July 27, 2010

What’s the #1 differentiator between companies that excel at succession planning and leadership development and those that simply “go through the motions”?

It’s the ownership and commitment of the senior executive team. They believe in its strategic importance and treat it as a high priority. Without this, the typical reaction from every manager is likely to be “What’s the point? We go through the motions every year filling these forms out and nothing happens.”

It not only becomes a demoralizing administrative time-waster, but when leadership positions need to be filled, we’re frustrated with the lack of qualified candidates. Of course, there’s also the frustration of our high potentials regarding lack of feedback, coaching, development opportunities, and any meaningful interest and involvement from their managers.

The message is clear (pick one):

1. Your development is not important to me; it’s not worth the expense or time.

2. I don’t think you have the capacity to grow and change so why bother.

3. You’re a manager – suck it up- you’re on your own when it comes to development.

This lack of commitment and involvement then cascades down and throughout the organization. While there may be pockets of excellence, these overall message is pretty clear – it’s not important, just a “nice-to-do”.

However, with commitment from the top, even the most incompetent HR department couldn’t possibly screw it up. Without it, all of the best process, systems, forms, and programs will have little impact.

If you believe in the importance of getting our next generation of leaders ready to take the helm, then are you ready to take a hard look at your own level of commitment and do what it takes to really make a difference? Take the following executive self-assessment to find your opportunities to improve (or send it to your favorite senior executive).

Rating scale: 5=always, 4=usually, 3=sometimes, 2= rarely, 1=never

1. When it comes to leadership development, I “practice what I preach”. I openly discuss my development needs and actions I’m taking to improve. According to Marshall Goldsmith: “When the senior leader acts like a little god and tells everyone else to improve, this behavior can be copied at every level of management. Every level then points out how the level below it needs to change. The end result: No one gets much better.”

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