That was the question I was asked recently by a colleague who had been on a working tour of the Far East. He had asked a significant number of first and middle managers to estimate how long they could take in any week to focus on their personal and professional development, and 30 minutes seemed to be the majority answer.
He was surprised at my answer:
“Do nothing but think about what it is you’re doing, and how effectively you’re doing it”
In short, use the time for reflection and don’t feel guilty about doing this as it could be the most important 30 minutes in your week.
I’ve just returned from delivering teamwork training in Kuwait and, inevitably, this touched on the concept of leadership and leadership styles. Participants on the programme were keen to know what I thought the “best leadership style” was, even though they recognised that this might be situational.
You may or may not agree with me that the concept of ‘leadership styles’ is an outdated one. However, I much prefer to think of leadership as a set of attitudes, values, skills and behaviours that are applied consistently, rather than a ‘style’ that is changed depending upon the context. I believe that leaders are accountable for four key things in any organisation.
To what extent does the design of a learning environment need to recognise the context within which the learning will be applied? This great question was asked during a recent RSVP train the trainer programme and it raises some interesting thoughts about the learning design process and the extent to which we can make the learning experiences we offer, and the environment we create, relevant to the learner so that learning is more easily transferred back into the ‘real world’.
We discuss what we use as the 4 key aspects to include in any effective leadership development workshop.
We cannot ‘develop leaders’ through short, isolated interventions. However, we can identify some of the demands of leaders and help them to develop skills that will strengthen their leadership skills.
We discuss the four key aspects of leadership which suggest what leaders need to do. However, this overview of purposeful leadership activity does not consider how leaders are working with their people.
When you drill down and ask questions about how leaders must work with their teams to achieve these goals, you constantly come back to some basic processes: consultation, questioning, listening and coaching.