Heresy you say!
What if the whole premise of the Leadership Development industry was flawed? Maybe we are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe the $14B that was invested in leadership development last year was wasted. After all, has anyone noticed an improvement in the performance in their manager recently? Has anyone noticed organisations get noticeably more efficient? The rates of stress in the workplace are skyrocketing!
Let’s unpick this.
Why do we undertake leadership development investments? Here might be some of the reasons.
- Improve collaboration
- Develop a high performing culture
- Acheive company purpose
Perhaps, instead of developing a high performing culture we should simply develop systems and processes for running our organisations effectively – and teach people how to use them.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with people wanting to understand themselves better so that they can be better leaders. Understanding our DISC profile or our MBTI profile is useful but it does not help us manage an organisation. Attending a workshop on innovation and creativity is interesting but that does not help us run an organisation that is innovative. Is there any evidence that increasing our EQ actually improves company performance?
So what does?
We are desperately short of a job description for a people manager. We use the words leadership and manage. We use the words collaborative and innovative. However, no one tells us what to do. What is the task list for being a manager?
So here is a task list for a manager:
- Understand what you are accountable for in your role
- Identify the work required to meet your accountabilities
- Break this work down into smaller pieces to allocate to team members and ensure all team members understand their accountabilities and the accountabilities of their peers
- Ensure that you have the right people for each role
- Solve problems with your team using a clear process
- Assign tasks to your team members
- Regularly meet with your team and individually so you can monitor the implementation of these tasks
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is!
So, if every manager from the CEO down held their team members accountable for doing the work as a manager, the organisation would work dramatically better – and vast investments in Leadership Development would simply not be necessary. This management process described above will achieve collaboration, accountability, innovation and improve productivity – AND save you millions in wasted leadership development money.