Project based leadership development.

You need leadership when you need change.

An organisation needs great leadership when it needs to change. There is no doubt that good leadership facilitates change. Is leadership necessary in times of stability? Can we say that leading change is a major work of leadership?

What we notice is that a lot of leadership development is divorced from leadership work, or at best works only on understanding and leading the “self.” Every leadership development program involves looking at yourself – working on those aspects of your style that make it easier for people to follow you. That is a necessary but not complete leadership capability.

All leadership is relative to the context. Knowing why the organisation needs leadership, knowing who needs that leadership, discovering what the organisation needs to do and how the organisation could succeed becomes the ground from which leadership emerges. 

For leadership development to be useful and meaningful we believe that it is not sufficient to work on yourself by yourself. Just as you cannot learn to swim by reading a book, you learn to lead by getting into the water of leadership. That means getting something done with and through others. By having people who will follow you and work with you to achieve something.

We believe that there are three acts of leadership: leading yourself, leading groups of others and leading an entire organisation. Good leadership development programs will work on at least two of those: leading self as a foundational element plus leading groups of others at a minimum – to get something important done.

For executive leadership this might mean selecting a strategic shift that requires good leadership and using that as a project on which to strengthen and develop appropriate leadership. The project gives the context – answering the important questions of why the organisation needs leadership, who needs to follow, where the group needs to go and discovering how they might get there. As a part of the process, the inner work comes to life, grounded by the challenges of organisational change.

For middle management and new managers, the same principle applies. Leadership development focused on new managers or middle managers becomes real when anchored in a project that links to something strategically important. In this way, leadership development links tightly to strategic execution, and strategic execution becomes the ground on which you learn leadership.

If your leadership development programs do not tightly couple with strategic execution, you might ask yourself how much of the investment in leadership development is translating into organisational improvement. 

At WorldsView Academy we believe that Strategy, Leadership and Team development should be in a tight relationship. We believe in solving organisational issues at the same time as developing team health and leadership capability. Talk to us about a better way of investing those development funds. We would love to meet with you.

Written by Craig Yeatman.