Peter Jeff, the author of LEADERSHIP MINTS and founder of this blog that spawned the book now available on Amazon.com, shares ideas on Sustaining a Culture of Leadership Development in the current issue of TRAINING MAGAZINE (May-June, 2014) dedicated to the top companies providing Leadership Development for leaders at all levels.
Here is the full-text of his Leadership How-To column in the largest magazine in the nation serving leadership development trainers and coaches. (Photos are used in this blog only).
Sustaining a Culture
Tactics to help leaders habitually develop other leaders and more consistently
reinforce leadership principles in everyday activities.
BY PETER JEFF
Helping leaders develop other leaders is a mindset that may formally start in a leadership development program but it’s a process nurtured over time and nourished through an array of everyday behaviors.
Collectively these behaviors sustain a culture of leadership development that broadens the scope of leadership thinking beyond those who have been appointed and anointed. Such a culture of leadership development also engages and encourages followers to discover and deploy the leader in themselves.
Consider the following ideas—on meeting rituals, artifacts, symbolism and institutional memory– to propagate a robust leadership development culture rooted in mutual trust and share values that are understood, applied and acted upon.
Open staff meetings on a regular basis with this same question: “What are you reading these days for your own personal enjoyment?” Then close each meeting with a reference to something you are reading for your own personal enjoyment that provides your staff an insight into your values, concerns and interests.
Rotate Meeting Leaders among your staff. The designated Meeting Leader de jour sits in the “leader’s chair.” The titular incumbent leader participates as member of the team.
Prior to the meeting, the Meeting Leader de jour consults with the titular incumbent leader, develops the agenda, assigns any prep work and designs and promotes a meeting theme.
Then the Meeting Leader de jour conducts a Leadership Learning Minute, a 60-second concept, quote or book reference on leadership thinking specially selected to foment the meeting theme.
A manufacturing plant leader found a 12-inch, grass-skirted hula doll who wiggled her way onto the leadership development stage. All 700 production workers began to think and act like leaders more than ever before regardless if they had any direct reports or budget responsibilities.
Collectively they set out to accomplish an unprecedented goal, a goal so high all agreed they would have to “shoot for the moon” to attain it. The plant manufacturing leader prominently displayed the hula doll in his glass-enclosed office so that everyone could see her shimmering when they walked by.
Periodically he would squeeze the air pump on the hula doll and she would ever so discretely—shoot the moon– bare her derriere. The visual humor paid off. The production plant completed their unprecedented 100 days of perfect shipments, on time and defect free.
If a picture is worth a thousand words then a symbol is worth millions. One leader of a mentoring program gave away colorful electrical connectors, the cap-like piece of plastic that keep wires in a lamp for example connected and empowered.
Mentors were asked to carry the electrical connector in their pocket or purse for the duration of their mentoring commitment. Mentors then gave their mentees a similar electrical connector to carry on their person whenever they met.
The electrical connector symbolized their synergy in their mutual career development in particular and the organization’s capability in general.
Honor Yesterday’s Founders:
Rename conference rooms after founders or celebrated leaders in your industry. Share stories that illustrate specific leadership traits of the company founder such as the CEO who had command of a fleet garage of trucks as part of his billion-dollar company but stopped to write out a personal check when he asked his mechanics to change a flat tire on his personal vehicle.
Celebrate Today’s Heroes.
Publicly recognize and reward subject-matter experts, mentors and coaches.
Champion Tomorrow’s Leaders.
Spotlight and reward current exceptional first-line employees nominated by their peers.
Peter Jeff is the author of Leadership Mints,
101 -Bite-Sized Ideas to Freshen your Bottom-Line Thinking
and the founder of the blog that spawned the book.
For more information, visit LeadershipMints.com or contact him on Twitter @LeaderMintsGuy.