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Business Process Consulting - Key Elements of Corporate Leadership Development
by Peter McLean

Leadership skill development is accomplished on the job. People learn to be project managers by managing projects; people learn to recruit staff by recruiting staff; people learn to discipline staff by disciplining staff; and people learn to lead a team by leading a team.

When managers and leaders acquire these skills, they actually do most of their learning the first time that they complete such a management or leadership initiative.

Therefore, it is through undertaking challenging new projects that leaders learn. Their development and situational maturity grow as a result of doing something different and unfamiliar.

John Dewey, in his wonderful book, "How We Think," writes:

"The familiar and the near do not excite thought on their own account, but only as they are adjusted to mastering the strange and remote."

Business management training and leadership development in a purely theoretical sense are therefore pointless. People think, learn and reinvent themselves by experiencing and doing new things. Within the business environment, successful corporate team building integrates the following key elements:

Provide the Leadership Development Experience Leaders must be given a challenging task or objective that has been identified as being of high importance in achieving a specific business result. The activity should present a new opportunity that the person has not encountered before.

By exposing the best people to these roles, they are more likely to rise to the challenge. This type of learning experience is effective because there is an element of the unknown and the stakes are high. Such tasks create a sense of urgency, raised expectations and a certain degree of tension that is motivating for aspiring leaders.

This is not to say that people should be left to sink or swim. They must be given the support and the resources required to achieve the task that has been set, by having them work alongside and with the best people in the business to increase the probability of their success.

Enrol the Right Supports The potential leader should be assigned to a manager who is a recognised high performer in terms of achieving results, managing himself or herself, and having the ability to lead with and through others. This will ensure that the best in the business are learning from the best in the business.

In this ongoing process of learning, both the coaching manager and the person being coached are encountering new problems, gaining new insights and are developing new skills and competencies along the way. This exposure to the experience of another in undertaking real work is mutually invaluable and builds the capability of the business and the people within it.

Evaluate Success Gains, in terms of milestones, must be recognisable, measurable and celebrated when they are achieved. Such recognition reinforces the winning cycle and encourages the person to achieve and learn even more. When mistakes occur, they must be identified and talked about in an open and honest manner, addressed and fixed. This will also reinforce the ongoing learning experience and the positive nature of the achievements along the way.

Making Mistakes and the "Always Learning" Mindset Some of the best learning comes from having made mistakes. Of course, these mistakes should not happen repeatedly, and the lessons learned from them must be incorporated into new ways of being and acting. Likewise, the enormity of certain mistakes can derail whole careers, so there is inherently a rider on the extent of an acceptable level of mistake.

The whole process of learning on the job is premised on having a work environment that values, encourages and supports learning. Having an "always learning" mindset is critical in absorbing information and then applying it in specific situations to achieve the desired outcomes and results.

This "always learning" mindset enables leaders to understand their strengths and manage and compensate for their own weaknesses. Mistakes and recognising them within a supportive environment assist leaders in coming to terms with a know-it-all syndrome and further enhance successful business career building."

Peter McLean is a highly experienced Coach, Senior Manager, Consultant, Business Owner and Company Director. He successfully coaches top Executives in some of Australia’s leading multi-national companies. One such Senior Executive recently won an International Award for Excellence within his particular field. In addition, Peter works extensively in the Public, Private, Commercial and Not-for-Profit sectors, delivering outstanding results for his clients. To learn more of how you can benefit from Peter’s experience, visit the Essential Business Coach web site!



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