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Leading people has nothing to do with managing them. In fact, we preach to our clients about the distinction between leading people and managing tasks. Unfortunately, far too many managers try to micro-manage their staff, all the while forgetting to lead them effectively. For the most part this is due to the fact that organizations have not done a good job of leadership development. They have tended to promote great individual contributor talent into leadership roles without teaching, coaching and mentoring them on how to become great leaders.

Every new leader should have a leadership development plan in place that focuses on improving the knowledge, skills and abilities associated with leadership. We see the same scenario play out all the time. A great individual contributor gets promoted and they concentrate on what they know how to do best…individual contributor work! There’s a sharp learning curve to leadership that causes too many new leaders to fail. That’s mainly due to the fact that they’re not being taught how to shift their focus from themselves to the success of their team.


 
 
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Organizations continue to promote great individual contributor talent into leadership roles and expect them to be able to transition successfully on their own. The sad truth is that when position power is all a leader has to rely on they're sunk. We've shifted from a command and control style of leadership to a more collaborative coaching style without developing the requisite skills in the people we promote into these leadership roles.

Factor in leadership behaviors and it's no wonder organizations aren't experiencing the levels of employee engagement they're hoping to see. This short video poses an interesting question as to the organizational implications of leadership behavior and the lack of leadership development programs.

Want to find out more about your leadership DNA?

 
 
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The dark side of any individual when allowed to go unchecked can create a rigid and dysfunctional personality that can stifle creativity, put a stop to innovation, taint or ruin relationships, and ultimately create employee engagement issues. When such characteristics are not effectively managed, a leader can easily be perceived as being self-righteous, self-serving and totally disinterested in the growth and development of their direct reports. The result is that they alienate the very people they are meant to inspire.

Tony Scutella (Shifting Mindsets) and I have seen a number of permutations of what we refer to as "arrested leadership development" in the work we've done over the years. When I first started working with Tony he referred to the stench that this darker side of leadership creates within an organization. It has been palpable in virtually every organization we've seen that has experienced leadership and leadership development issues. The steps involved with the leadership development program we implement, along with our clients, are to first create the self-awareness that there is a problem, secondly, identify the behavioral traits that are causing the issue(s) using psychometric tools and finally have the leaders create their own leadership development plan designed to correct the root of the problem.


 
 
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In the words of Jack H. McQuaig, “self-awareness is the foundation for achieving higher levels of performance. Highly successful people are not necessarily blessed with a higher intellect or more charisma than others, but they do know how to make the best use of their talents and how to avoid the pitfalls that could limit their success.”  The McQuaig Self-Development Survey®, a behavioral assessment,  will help you identify your strengths and become aware of weaknesses that decrease your effectiveness. This knowledge will enable you to improve your performance, increase your job satisfaction and achieve greater success. The report focuses on a person’s preferred or natural pattern of behavior and should be a foundational element of a leadership development plan.

In my last article I provided a free download of the report that was based on the results of a study that The McQuaig Institute conducted with 1038 executives in 2011. The report supported what we’ve been seeing for years now as far as leadership behavior is concerned. It generates a benchmark for leadership behavior, given that 80% of the participants had natural behavior patterns that would be categorized similarly. This creates the unique opportunity for new or aspiring leaders to easily compare their own preferred patterns of behaviour to a group of existing, successful leaders. The results of the study also provide us with an understanding as to why there are employee engagement issues in many organizations. It makes sense when the focus is more on generating results and less on building and leveraging the relationships necessary to create sustainable results.


 
 
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Surprisingly there is still a debate over the impact of leadership on employee engagement. We continue to see the correlation between employee engagement and performance but often fail to make the connection between leadership behavior and the level of engagement within a team or organization.

My original mentor, Jim Brown, taught me to seek out the root cause when problem solving. Unfortunately, that's not what's happening as organizations attempt to address the employee engagement issues they're seeing. Conducting employee engagement surveys serves the purpose of confirming the existence of a problem. There's a huge difference between knowing you have a problem and working toward a solution. If communication continues to show up as an engagement factor why aren't leaders better at communicating? Seems simple, right?


 
 
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The McQuaig Self Development Survey is a behavioral assessment that forms the foundation of an individual's development plans. It is incredibly well suited to stand alone as a leadership development plan or form the core of a broader leadership development program. 

Front line leaders have the greatest impact on employee engagement and this behavioral assessment shows them how to leverage their strengths and minimize the effects of any areas of their behavior that require development. It adds value to an individual contributor by displaying their behavioral strengths from most to least predominant and providing the framework to develop in areas that are current limitations.

sample_leadership_profile.pdf
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sample_self-development_survey_report.pdf
File Size: 1309 kb
File Type: pdf
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Organizations are starving for leadership at every level. Downsizing, organizational flattening and the shift from a command and control leadership approach to a more collaborative, coaching approach have all contributed to the serious lack of leadership seen in most organizations today. It doesn’t matter whether you are an individual contributor, a leader of others or a leader of leaders; I’m willing to bet that your organization would encourage you to take on more of a leadership role in your day to day activities. There is no greater impact on the level of employee engagement within an organization than the relationship an employee has with their direct supervisor. With that in mind I’ve co-authored a series of articles with Tony Scutella of Shifting Mindsets that are designed to help you create your own leadership development plan, which we're going to share with you over the coming weeks.