Leadership Development - "Walking The Talk"
Having recently worked with a client organization of over 3000 people, what has become apparent is how impactful leadership development is when it's being modeled by the senior leaders.
The effectiveness of high quality leadership development programs for clients is increased greatly when senior leaders are able to model the leadership techniques day in and day out. Through modeling, or "walking the talk", organizational values and practices come alive. Staff see tangible evidence that the "espoused" leadership practices are actually being inacted by their leaders.
While working with this organization, I had the opportunity to interview 25 of the senior leaders as it pertained to their effectiveness in applying leadership practices they had learned. 22/25 of senior leaders commented on the powerful impact "modeling" by their CEO had on their own behavior. Many of the interview participants cited how the CEO's influence was "catching on" with the entire leadership team and that, collectively, the executive team's performance had improved substantially. In turn, the improved performance at the executive team was felt across the organization at all levels. People were "seeing" a difference in their leaders and the way they interacted with one another. Feedback from staff indicated this instilled greater confidence in leadership as they observed the "talk" was backed up by the "walk": Not only were leaders talking about new skills and behaviors, they were demonstrating their commitment by actively applying and honing their approach to working with others.
What's the Benefit?
The connection between "Talk" and "Walk" was obvious. The fact that the CEO consistently applied the organization's leadership practices made it much easier for his reports to apply these skills. For the CEO, it was as simple as having focused leadership conversations with members of his executive team. As a result, VP's began to model behaviors and have similar conversations with their direct reports. The benefit was a cascading effect throughout the entire organization and leaders at all levels are now deliberately modeling the required leadership skills and behaviors.
An added benefit to the cascading effect of modeling leadership skills is the growing development of a common language amongst leaders. Sharing values, performance expectations and commitments to leading in a manner that is consistent across all branches and divisions has a profound impact on the culture of an organization. It results in improved productivity, enhanced employee satisfaction and higher levels of engagement throughout the organization.
Leaders - Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What am I modeling as a leader in my organization?
- How are my words and actions aligned to the organizations strategic priorities, values and reflected in the type of leadership development we provide?
- How are my words and actions making a positive difference?"
Answers to these questions will allow you to reflect on your own leadership and support alignment of leadership practices across your organization.
KESA offers high quality, customized leadership development processes. KESA leadership development programs are co-designed with clients to ensure relevance for the client and maximize learning and application of leadership skills required by your organization. The KESA approach ensures leaders have the support they require to model and apply their learning immediately.
About Mark Bosworth
Mark has a wealth of experience in leadership development in dozens of organizations across Canada and Internationally. He holds a MA in Leadership from Royal Roads University and is an ICF Certified Executive Coach. Mark’s first career was as a highly successful national champion college coach working in both team and individual sports and brings that experience to his work in organizations over the past 20 years. He is an outstanding and sought after presenter.