Why “that’s the way we’ve always done it” isn’t working

Everyone, in every sector, is under pressure to be innovative and agile. But there is a problem. Many of us are moving fast, and are not getting anywhere. Based on the latest data, more than 40 per cent of companies are not hitting key performance targets, and the under-investment in leadership development has been identified as a significant contributing factor.

In fact, the landmark leadership study noted that businesses needed a reality check, highlighting that one in seven organisations spends nothing on leadership development. Nothing. Zilch. For leaders in the private and public sectors, this should be ringing alarm bells. Why? Because the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mantra isn’t working.

It begs the question: what are the five main benefits of investing in leadership development?

1. Building resilience

Resilience is a hot leadership topic, and with good reason. There is no single way to develop resilience or become resilient. By investing in leadership development, businesses and organisations will be given the tools to build resilience – and learn ways to create a resilient, robust workforce, which is flexible, prepared for change, and focused on strengths and assets.

2. Changing culture

Leadership development can change toxic, unproductive work cultures, where workaholism and perfectionism are often confused with high performance. Replace your workplace’s finger-pointing culture with the introduction of a new learning culture – and one of empowerment. In this new environment, there will be a healthy pursuit of excellence and an emphasis on wellbeing (physical and mental). The result? A happy, more productive team.

3. Support transitions from technical expert to team leader

More than half of middle-managers get worse performance assessments than they did as individual team members. Why? Because technical expertise, and other factors that drive high individual performance, do not readily translate into leadership capabilities. Moreover, the types of leadership development programs that are being invested have not evolved to match their changing needs. Given this transition is one of the most important in a leader’s career, and will impact on the team they go on to manage, it is peculiar there is a deficit in access to coaching and effective development.

4. Unlock creativity and the ability to innovate

Australian businesses are facing innovation shortfalls, and a lack of leadership development has been blamed for the sticky situation. We know that small businesses and startups are now driving change and innovation – and most big businesses are ill-equipped to keep pace. Targeted leadership development is one way corporates and public sector executives can learn how to put fear aside and be adaptable, which will unlock creativity and the ability to innovate.

5. Envisioning a positive future

Strong, effective leaders combine a positive mindset with positive behaviours. And it has a trickle-down effect, influencing team attitudes and productivity. While some people have in-built optimism and practice healthy behaviours, many of us would benefit from expert guidance to be on our A-game. Leadership development can be help define a clear and actionable forward plan, and turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

Has leadership management helped you? Tell me your story.

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