Last week I covered a presentation about resonant leadership and how learning leaders can help employees develop their emotional intelligence to make more authentic connections and maintain a positive outlook. Melvin Smith, the presenter, made a great statement that “common sense is not always common practice.”
I’m still confounded as to why not, but even more appalled at what that seven-word phrase means when developing new managers. Only 13 percent of leaders feel like they’re doing a good job, according to Deloitte’s 2015 “Global Human Capital Trends” report, and one of the reasons why is they’re not adequately prepared for their positions.
“Our clients consistently tell us that leadership development is a top concern, and they continue to be dissatisfied with their results,” said Anthony Abbatiello, U.S. head of Deloitte Leadership and principal at the firm.
So what are chief learning officers doing wrong? More importantly, what can they do right? The answer could be in our heads — or, rather, in the study of what’s in our heads.
That’s why Deloitte acquired Kaisen Consulting, a boutique leadership consultancy made up of business psychologists, earlier this month. The firm wants to use a more scientific approach to identify and predict potential in those who will be at the helm in five or 10 years and prepare them for the challenges ahead.
For those entering leadership today, psychological research can inform what kind of development and coaching they receive. Abbatiello said instead of teaching specific skills, CLOs should help employees learn how to adapt to situations and seek new experiences to be effective. Don’t provide specific behavioral maps; instead, help them anticipate and navigate future situations.
For example, a change in mindset could be the key to keeping managers on track, rather than a lesson in delegation.
Abbatiello gave this example: A fresh manager is still in the follower mindset that success equals productivity. This new leader on the block focuses on individual performances and personally completing everything on the to-do list so it gets done, rather than delegate to his or her team. The result? Burnout.
But if a learning leader can teach the new manager to view success as team-focused but in flux — the solution could be productivity in one situation, innovation in another, kickass productivity in another — that’s the jackpot.
“In the future, leaders will need to have breadth and versatility of thought,” Abbatiello said. “There are specific patterns in how expert leaders think. They don’t know more, but what they know is more organized and thus more accessible when they are faced with any situation.”