Leadership Program Barcelona: 3 Key Aspects to Become a Skillful Leader
In this article you will find a description of the main features of the Leadership Program we deliver in Barcelona and how these aspects make the program a success.
People know very well what good leadership is!
When I ask participants of our Yellow Leadership Program to look back at their personal experiences with inspiring leaders and tell us who they were, they usually come up with examples like: their father (like I did), their first boss, the coach of the hockey team, their mom. At the same time they are very well capable of pinpointing the key leadership behaviors that motivated them: giving trust, self-confidence, a clear vision and teaching persistence to succeed.
My experience is that most people know exactly how a leader needs to behave to inspire, motivate and get the best out of us. And apart from that, most participants in our Leadership Program already have a good knowledge by reading about the topic; leadership is surely one of the most covered topics in management literature.
My question is, then, how is it possible that in many organizations all over the world, people still complain about bad leadership or, even worse, leave the company because of lack of good leadership?
Do Leadership Programs get the desired results?
US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development and almost two-thirds of US companies identify leadership development as their number-one concern. (Gurdjian, et al., 2014). In the same investigation it is mentioned that 30 percent of US companies admit that they have failed to exploit their international business opportunities fully because they lack enough leaders with the right capabilities.
This means that, in general, most leadership programs are not that effective. Why is that?
Investigations indicate that most leadership programs are forgetting a few important aspects to help participants develop into capable and confident leaders, and that leadership programs can only be effective if we take into consideration 3 important aspects:
- The context in which leaders work: is there time to apply the learned tools?
- The organizational culture: is leadership development indeed a priority?
- Support: do leaders receive enough support for learning on the job?
In the next paragraphs I will describe how we manage these aspects in our Leadership Courses to make the program a success.
Leadership Program Barcelona: Creating time to apply
Leaders need the right circumstances to operate within to be able to apply all those skills, habits and insights that almost every leader is developing during the leadership workshops. New behaviors and insights need practice in order to become strong leadership skills.
For example, leaders need to have time to put the new tools into practice, like giving feedback to team members. They need time to invest in delegating rather than taking over the work of team members or completing their work for them. But what if the leaders cannot find the (emotional) space to do this because they are overloaded with other activities, changes and conflicts to solve?
“No time is no priority”, is what leaders are told when they cite these challenges. Aren’t we asking too much of them?
In our Leadership Program we have attention for the workload leaders are confronting and for that reason we go step by step. We organize four 2- hour workshops within a time frame of 8 weeks. Leaders learn one or two new tools per workshop, and apply these in the time in between workshops, gathering new insights and experiences. No overload of tools, but bite-sized learning.
This immediate application of new insights, focused on one tool or behavior, lead to positive results and a high motivation to continue improving.
During the next workshops, participants share their experiences and get new tips or advice, adjusted to their situation.
At the end of the program they already have applied many new tools and behaviors, have developed new skills and it's no effort to continue applying these skills after the program.
Leadership Program Barcelona: Working with the right organizations
The road to becoming a great leader starts with working in an organization with the right culture. An organization that gives priority to leadership development makes sure that:
- Passion is unleashed.
- Intellect is challenged.
- Creativity is engaged.
- People are given a voice.
- There is care for the development of people.
- Contributions are recognized.
- Responsibility grows and increases.
It is only in these kinds of organizations that good leadership skills can develop, grow, make a difference and flourish.
We are selective in the organizations we work with and make sure that there is a corporate culture that supports the application of the new tools.
Leadership Program Barcelona: Support for learning on the job
If the organization’s culture supports the development of leadership skills with explicit attention for growth, we stimulate participants to apply new insights as soon as possible. Apart from this, we reinforce them to do these five basic things to grow in their leadership skills, while getting support from us during the program:
- Asking for feedback on a regular basis and insisting on getting concrete feedback with examples from their manager and other stakeholders.
- Asking for support, ideas, resources and information on a regular basis.
- Setting priorities: what can be left for later in the week/month, and if needed check with their manager.
- Giving real-time feedback on a daily basis to at least one team member, just small things that went well or that could be improved to motivate them.
- Planning - at least once a week - some time to delegate tasks and make their team members grow.
In each session, we ask for the things they were able to apply and stimulate them to take small steps, reflect on the results, and we give them additional support if situations are more complicated than they expected. They learn by doing and during the program they learn on the job with the necessary support.
If you are interested in more information about our Leadership Program, contact us or check out the information on our website.