Are you destined to become a great leader?

It seems to me that as we look around politics and business life, there is a real dearth of great leadership.

What do I mean by great leadership? Let me clarify.

In my view a ‘great’ leader should not be confused with either a famous (or infamous) leader. Leaders can achieve notoriety for all the right, but also many of the wrong, reasons.  Leaders can achieve success through manipulation, threats, bullying and exclusion. To me, the truly great leader positively influences a group. They maximise human, financial and environmental capital, and then motivate those they lead to achieve great things.

A great leader does their job to the highest personal and ethical standards. In doing so, they gain the utmost respect from their peers and team, whether on the factory floor, running a scout troop or even leading a country.

Why do we need great leaders?

Great leaders are important to:

  •  Your team: The effectiveness of the majority is either positively or negatively impacted by their leaders. Research demonstrates that most people need, indeed want, to be led. Many have no desire to lead other people. That’s fine. But leaders of character will expect this broader group of people to lead themselves effectively, even if they (understandably) do not want to lead others. While there is some debate around whether a person would leave a job because of their leader, we know the experience of having a great leader and mentor in early years development, often stays with people throughout their entire career. And always remember that future great leaders may be members of your own team!
  • Your organisation: According to The Business Management Report, 2017: “Employees who are happy and feel in control are 57% more likely to be engaged and 53% more likely to be productive.” Failing to recognise that most people are not interested or courageous enough to step up and lead, is the single greatest mistake of the organisations that I have worked with over the last twenty years. Where they think about people at all, organisations still subscribe to the idea that, “people are our most valuable asset”. They’re not. Leaders of character are your organisation’s most valuable asset!

So, do you have what it takes?

It’s my assertion that anyone can be a great leader. Some may have more challenges to face along the way, but being a great leader is accessible to all.

But to be a great leader requires you to look deeply at your ‘self’.

If you aspire to lead at any level, you need to take time to analyse your current skill set, embrace fully the idea of being a leader and commit to continually developing your ‘self’ to become the best leader you can be.

What areas should you focus on?

In our book, Leader iD, David Pilbeam and I codified four years of research into five key human characteristics of highly developed leaders:

  • Discovery – You have a deep spirit and love of learning. You look for better ways of doing things, and shamelessly take ideas from one context and apply them to your own.
  • Determination – Leadership can be tough. You are going to need huge reserves of resilience, energy and courage to lead effectively when times are challenging – which they most certainly will be.
  • Perspective – Developmental psychology suggests that the more perspectives a person can hold indicates their levels of intellectual/emotional/cognitive/personal Challenge yourself to look at things from a different point of view.
  • Balance – Are you able to hold things in balance? Can you really challenge your team while also providing support? Can you manage speed and reflection? The need for both action and consideration?
  • Compassion – Your ability to be genuinely empathetic and supportive with those you lead.

Take action to become a great leader now

I believe that while we are all born with a range of abilities, the five characteristics above can be developed by anyone. But only if you build on your strengths, recognise and accept areas of improvement, and take time to work on those areas so they also become your strengths.

Practising your leadership is essential. Initially on yourself, then with your team. Work at leadership all the time. Reflect on success and failures. Why did you achieve the result you did? How could you have reached a different outcome. And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, from peers, colleagues and your team.

In my experience, there are no shortcuts, to becoming a great leader. It is a lifelong commitment. But it is one that is within your grasp, if you’re prepared to focus on and develop your leadership ‘self’.

Dr Glenn P Wallis, Executive and Leadership Coach

This article first appeared on The Royal Society of Arts online blog 12 September 2018

Leader iD, written by David Pilbeam and Glenn Wallis is published by Pearson UK, Business Book of the Month in W H Smith Travel outlets August 2018 and is available to purchase at all good bookstores and online.

 

Why Leader iD is more than just a book

As experienced qualified coaches, David Pilbeam and I have always shared a vision to create affordable development tools for ambitious leaders in the early stages of their careers.

Leader iD, published this month by Pearson, and currently WH Smith Travel Business Book of the Month, is one such example. It’s filled with tools and advice, and is based on our experiences of coaching and developing successful leaders.

Anyone who buys Leader iD, can also take a FREE online Diagnostic Assessment  to assess their leadership profile and development needs.

Completion of the assessment results in a confidential Personalised Profile Report identifying each leader’s strengths and areas for improvement. That’s a great way to get the best from the book.

But the book is only half the story…

The Leader iD Development Programme

For those leaders who want to really invest in their development, we created an innovative Online Leader iD Development Programme.

It’s presented in practical modules and includes 45 podcasts, nine videos and a comprehensive Workbook with hundreds of questions, and a ‘deep-dive’ exercise to make the learning stick.

You could view the programme as a tailored roadmap for professional growth. It’s ideal for new and aspiring leaders and costs just £99 for individuals. That feels like a small price to pay for being the best leader you can be!

Could this be a solution for your leadership team?

At a time when L&D budgets are under pressure, it strikes us that we could also offer the Leader iD Online Development Programme to corporate customers (with a volume discount, of course)!

If you’re interested in a low-cost, easy access and comprehensive development programme for your future leaders, feel free to give me a call on +44 (0) 20 3858 7337 to learn more.

 

Dr Glenn P Wallis, The Leadership Coach

Leader iD, published by Pearson, is currently WH Smith Travel Business Book of the Month and is also available to purchase at all good bookstores and online.

©Glenn P Wallis Ltd

 

Coaching future leaders

The more the Glenn P Wallis team coach senior leaders, the more we believe that coaching should also be available at an earlier stage in a leader’s career, especially for those identified as ‘talent’ for future leadership roles.

These future leaders would often benefit from improved confidence, greater self-awareness, increased leadership skills and higher role engagement much earlier in their careers. They will then be able to ‘hit the ground running’ when promoted to more senior executive roles.

But organisations can be put off coaching large numbers of leaders because of cost.

Which is why we created Compact Coaching®

Compact Coaching® is an affordable proprietary high-quality, time-efficient coaching methodology. It is suited to middle and junior leaders within an organisation, delivered in large volumes and high frequency. It is also suited to managers in organisations undergoing business transformation or culture change. It is the new coaching method that embeds targeted change through a “little and often” approach.

Compact Coaching® is available to groups of 20 or more. Delivery can be tailored to specific needs but normally each participant has monthly twenty-minute individual coaching sessions via telephone or Skype (or equivalent) over the space of a year.

Is it really worth the investment?

In our experience, the organisation will benefit from leadership skills reaching and shaping a large-scale leadership tier. Other benefits include improved organisational alignment, increased leadership engagement and better business performance.

For example we delivered a blended leadership development programme for a UK bank that resulted in a Return on Investment of over 340%.

Click here for further information about Compact Coaching® or Contact us

©Glenn P Wallis Ltd

 

 

Why leaders need coaching  

The coaching industry is poor at explaining to leaders the benefits of employing a highly skilled executive coach. Coaches at Glenn P Wallis have met executives who perceive the work we do as, ‘soft and fluffy’ and not suited to the fast-paced outcome-focused world in which they operate.

Great coaching, done by highly experienced and qualified coaches, works – we explain why.

Adopting a non-judgemental approach, executive coaches meet their clients ‘where they are’ and investigate:

  • the client’s understanding of what they are experiencing, coupled with feedback from other key parties
  • what they and their sponsor think are the areas to focus on
  • the real underlying needs that present during this process.

The best executive coaches do their best to empathise and take time to investigate. They appreciate the systems and environment in which the executive is working.

Highly skilled in understanding people and the psychology of high performance, the best coaches will take a pragmatic view rather than an idealised one.

Great executive coaches provide insights and feedback, to the executive, that people in their organisation can’t or won’t provide, including:

  • dealing with the challenges of relentless pressure
  • leadership style and behaviours that will undermine their credibility
  • communications/relationships with the C-Suite leadership team.

As a result of coaching, previous executive clients have told us they have been able to bring greater awareness to the way they lead. They now benefit from:

  • increased confidence
  • a greater clarity of purpose
  • improved leadership skills
  • greater engagement
  • enhanced resilience and wellness
  • more refined organisational behaviours.

A professional, qualified coach supports an executive to be the best leader they can be, which is far from soft or fluffy.

Glenn P Wallis

Coaching for Leaders and Executives

Click here for further information about Coaching for Leaders and Executives or Contact us

©Glenn P Wallis Ltd

Coaching vs. Mentoring the C-Suite Executive’s Dilemma

There is a misconception that top senior executives and business leaders no longer require a leadership coach, rather an adviser (mentor) who has been in the role successfully in the past.

We, at Glenn P Wallis, believe that this is an assertion built on erroneous thinking. Each C-Suite Executive is very different to the next. It assumes that a mentor’s experience will be of more benefit at a different time and potentially in very different circumstances.

So that does beg the question – how many ex-C-Suite Executives are forward thinking qualified coaches with a commitment to CPD?

The areas of development that the C-Suite Executive requires, will determine the success of the support they receive. A former CEO may be a brilliant mentor, but would they know how to coach effectively? Would they possess the skillset to spot and explore such areas as:

  • faulty thinking
  • personal bias
  • self-limiting beliefs
  • values conflict
  • projection
  • transference
  • counter-transference?

It’s unlikely, unless they have sufficient development in the skills of coaching.

At Glenn P Wallis, it is our firm belief that highly advanced coaching skills, coupled with being a former CEO, would make for the best coaching solution. However, omit the former and you are left with high quality advice that may or may not be fit for purpose. Omit the latter, and what remains is high quality coaching.

In our experience, high quality coaching trumps high quality advice for long-term career success. Because as the old saying goes: give a person a fish and they can feed themselves for a day, or teach them to fish and they can feed themselves forever.

Glenn P Wallis

Coaching for Leaders and Executives

Click here for further information about Coaching for Leaders and Executives or Contact us

©Glenn P Wallis Ltd

3 ways leadership subtlety can improve your pace

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Senior leaders in today’s workplace are required to work quickly. Almost all the time. The expectation is that executives make often quite complex decisions, rapidly. Everyone has to iterate innovation at speed. Many senior leaders I am asked to work with are approaching exhaustion at the relentless pace of work. The challenge here is that the rate of change is not likely to slow down very much any time soon. So how can leaders learn to cope better in this lighting-fast environment? One way to achieve greater capability to work at this pace, is to develop leadership subtlety. In this post, we’ll explore what I mean by leadership subtlety; how it can improve your pace and how to develop the kind of nuance that the very best leaders demonstrate.

What is leadership subtlety?

For the purposes of this article, ‘leadership subtlety’ refers to leaders developing the capacity to respond to situations and to other people, in the widest range of ways. This flexibility of styles is a mark of mature leadership. Mature leadership is not a function of time in the role. There are plenty of examples of very new leaders who have the range of approaches available to them, that engages their team and ensures delivery of great performance. For the sake of balance, leaders who have been in post for a long time but lack the subtlety of leadership approach, are legion.
Leadership subtlety is the direct result of a developed leader. The human being that is the leader, has high levels of awareness, sophisticated worldviews that allow them to be comfortable with paradox, accept the views of others, even when (especially when) they do not accord with those of the leader. Leadership subtlety enables many views and truths to be held together.

What are the three ways leadership subtlety improves pace?

1. Leaders who display the sort of sophisticated thinking and action that we are talking about here, are more likely to focus on the job of leading because they don’t need to be operational. They are clear on their role. They avoid working at a level that is inappropriate to the job they have. This ‘role discipline’ provides greater impact and value across the organisation. Leaders focusing on leadership avoid getting wrapped up in the operational parts of their function. Not easy but vital.
2. Leadership subtlety is accessible to leaders who have a lower ego-need. Such leaders do not need to be the centre of attention, they encourage the ‘best people for the job’ to take control. Leaders who have lower ego needs tend to trust others more. Their ability to retain an idea of the ‘big picture’ allows them to remain more open to ideas and avoid the ‘my way or the highway’ trap so many leaders can fall into.
3. Linked to the previous point, a highly nuanced approach to leadership allows leaders to be more comfortable with glorious failures. Brave attempts that do not produce the desired results, are not an assault on the identity of the leader. Nor are such lacks of success a prompt for criticising the originators of the idea and plan. In such subtlety of leadership approach lies the germ of risk taking, innovation, rapid iteration, agile work. Why? Because people led by such leaders are not scared to make a decision, try something out or just crack on.

Develop yourself to develop your leadership

Developing your ‘Self’ as a human being enables you to live a more fulfilled life but also allows you to lead much more effectively. Your ability to align your actions to your values and your role, improves markedly. Encouraging the creativity and uniqueness of others, maximises the resources of those you lead. Remaining squarely in your leadership role supports high performance and confidence in others too. You working on you, will aid your ability to succeed as a leader in these fast-paced times.
Dr Glenn P Wallis is the Director of Wallis Partnership Ltd a specialised leadership consultancy. When your organisation is ready to make effective leadership a business imperative, you can contact us here we would be delighted to hear from you.

No one owns the definition of leadership

leedership

When you arrive at that point in your career when you get a dawning realisation that you are a “senior leader” an odd thing can happen. There is a moment that many leaders reach and share with me, where they find they are struggling to define leadership for themselves. They are surrounded by Executive peers and Board members who are already well-established and who are leading in a way that at least appears comfortable and confident. These ‘new’ senior leaders find themselves further away from their comfort zones and wrestling to find a way of operating where they can feel comfortable and satisfy what is required from them in their new elevated position.

The result is that many such leaders, in an attempt to avoid some degree of imposter syndrome, take one or more of the following approaches:
1. Engage a leadership mentor
2. Try to copy those already in senior positions
3. Sign up for an Executive education programme at a Business School
4. Read lots of books on leadership

Thing is, these aren’t the best place to start the process of defining leadership for yourself. Let’s look at each briefly before exploring where you’ll definitely want to start the journey of becoming an outstanding senior leader.

Mentors

What a great resource leadership mentors can be. Insightful in providing new leaders with both short-cuts and red-flags that help save time (vital) and avoid major screw-ups (even more vital!). Providing a “this is how I did it” approach, can be a life-saver for new Executive leaders. Mentors can also offer a sense of not being alone and having a critical friend in moments of real need.

Copy-cat leadership

I have written often that leaders are never not role modelling. Your team members, Boss and peers are always watching you, even sub-consciously. So, leaders are always being observed and judged, but by definition, they are also often being the observer of other leaders. This can result in the very common “I’d never do it like that” awareness, when leaders see something that they would not condone doing if the roles were reversed. Whilst this deficit approach to learning-by-watching is common, leaders watching other leaders in order to learn some positives seems less prevalent but is still a good way for new leaders to learn how to lead.

Executive Education

Exec education can work incredibly well when there is evidence-based input that is highly applicable to the real world in which Executives work. Learning that is designed to ensure that leadership development happens through undertaking real work, ensures that leaders can see how to apply what they have learned, back in the work-place. Rolling out keynote speakers with a view/experience to share can also be useful. Another great advantage of attending such Exec development is the networking with other professionals that may prove helpful over a life-time of leadership.

Reading Leadership Material

I love to read the latest leadership book. I absorb key thoughts from a wide range of books over the course of a year. Assimilating diverse ideas and cherry-picking concepts that resonate for me, helps me keep developing my own leadership approach in an ongoing way. The challenge with many leaders in relation to reading leadership ideas, is they’ll pursue one idea until the next shiny idea comes along. The sound-track goes a bit like this: “Oooh Authentic Leadership … I love that … What’s this? Integrated Leadership … Very cool and soooo me!! … YES! … Values-based leadership … I’m on it!” etc etc etc. Well-intentioned learning can end up looking a bit desperate and feel, for those you lead, to be pretty inconsistent. That inconsistency prompts uncertainty and that uncertaintly negatively impacts your effectiveness as a leader.

So where to start?

Start by acknowledging that only you will do leadership the way you are going to do it. Your version of senior leadership will never have been witnessed before and will never be seen again, in exactly the way you are going to do it. Recognise that learning from others – be they mentors, peers, instructors or authors – is helpful but never the answer on its own.

“No-one owns the definition of senior leadership but what is critical for you is that you have a definition of it for you.”

Working on developing your version of leadership is always time well spent.

Define:
– What sort of leader you want to be
– Your view of how and where you can add most value
– What values you hold dear and won’t compromise

These are all activities that will guide how you behave as a senior leader. You will have some areas of flexibility and others where you will stand fast. You will understand the current context and how your leadership will work here but also have deep roots that will guide how you want to lead, irrespective of context.

Working this out for yourself does several things, including speeds up decision-making, reduces anxiety and increases self-confidence. Not bad results for a relatively little bit of proactive thinking!

If you need help defining your version of senior or executive leadership for yourself, Glenn Wallis has a proven track-record of working with successfully with leaders just like you. You can contact him here when you are sure you are ready to get serious about leadership.

Are males or females better executive leaders? (2)

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In the first part of this mini-series we posed at a philosophical question: are men or women better Executive Leaders? We established that it is possible to measure the effectiveness of leaders using a number of approaches and that whilst there were similarities in how the genders would perform there were also some key differences. This post looks more closely at how leaders lead in practice and where we might see differences that could be significant in theoretical battle of the leadership sexes.

To draw some conclusions here I’m going to share my reflections of nearly 20years of working with senior male and female leaders.

Leading People

Having identified that females (generally) have higher scores in measures of empathy, you might consider that they would lead other people better. I think empathy is a key skill and potentially a significant difference between the genders but its not enough on its own. There is so much to leading other human beings effectively that, in my experience, both genders are capable of doing so really well. Indeed male executives who possess high empathy and EQ are some of the very best leaders I have met.

I think a really interesting dynamic for you to reflect on, if you are a senior leader, is do you lead the different genders differently?  I have seen many men who are great at leading other men but not so good at leading women and vice versa. One might suggest that higher EQ would enable you to lead both genders equally well and in theory it should. The unknown factor here is the willingness of those you lead to be led by you. Again higher EQ would enable you, with patience, to find different ways to skin that particular cat. If you lack either patience or the inter-personal skills to tackle that situation you are less likely to succeed. Male senior leaders can often get dismissive in such situations quite quickly. Female leaders can- sometimes to their/their teams detriment –  stick in there too long, in the belief that they can ‘turn’ someone around.

Leading An Organisation

What is an organisation if not a collection of people? Well, there is also the critical element of organisational culture. This is partly shaped by the people but it is also the result of the systems and processes that have been built in to produce the outcomes, behaviours and working environment that we might describe as the organisation’s culture.

Let me at this point ask you a question: What do the following have in common: Enron, BP, Barings Bank, RBS, Lehman Brothers and Volkswagen?

At the time of the associated scandals and disasters of these companies, they had a male CEO. A flawed argument maybe – there are not that many female CEOs – but it is interesting to note that the organisational cultures and leadership flaws, happened on the watch of male leaders.

Easy to throw stones, so let’s move on to a supplementary question: Would a female CEO have allowed such toxic cultures to grow on her watch? Possibly – think HP, Patricia Dunn and the spying scandal. Possibly not.

Whilst it is clear that both genders are able to create positive or negative organisational cultures, in my experience I have witnessed that the best female senior leaders are particularly aware of their role as a corporate citizen. They understand and make manifest very obviously, their role as standard bearers of the culture. Male senior leaders do too of course – but I have witnessed several who operate as if the rules don’t apply to them. They expect everyone else to toe the line but fail to reinforce the culture themselves on anything like a consistent basis. At least, not as consistently as their female counterparts. A case of female compliance? Maybe. But perhaps it takes being willing to flex on your own views and wants, to be an excellent role model of organisational culture.

Sore Made (Judo term for end of contest)

So in conclusion who would make a more effective executive if we were able to find our hypothetically evenly matched leaders?

The answer of course is that it is a draw.

There are brilliant male and female leaders like you. There are also terrible leaders of both genders. The secret here is that you will benefit from observing other leaders – regardless of gender – who do things well, that you are not so strong at and learn from them. Get yourself some objective help to measure where you are starting from and track the progress you are making.

Organisations would do well to create more space to facilitate the recognition and promotion of more female executives, as they offer so much that can help balance environments that are still largely male dominated. Diversity in your leadership cohort, in its many guises, is vital to ensure representation of a range of views and to nuance the organisation’s culture more subtly.

It’s not a contest; it’s certainly not a fight. The objective of great leadership is to help others perform at their very best, drawing on the strengths that they bring to the table. Go lead brilliantly.

Glenn Wallis helps senior leaders in organisations get even better at what they do. If you want to be a leader of character and to lead outstandingly, then you can contact Glenn here. 

Photo: Thanks to Ozzy Delany

Why Execs shouldn’t buy coaching (& how coaches can sell more)

Don't buy coachingCoaching is really well established in many parts of the business world as a method of helping leaders develop highly desirable skill sets, positive changes to mindset and achievement of goals. I know, I’ve helped many senior Executives achieve these positive results and many more.

The thing is, so many coaches, in my experience, are often too wrapped up in the world of coaching. Usually for really positive reasons e.g. they want to understand and develop their craft, which bearing in mind the responsibilities they have in their role, most of us would agree to be a wholly laudable aspiration.

The thing is, most Execs don’t care about coaching per se. What they do care about is results, which bearing in mind the responsibilities they have in their role, most of us would agree to be a wholly laudable aspiration (see what I did there?)

For those really senior leaders who engage with their own development most of them would engage in yogic flying if you could prove it would positively impact the bottom line. The outcome is their focus not the methodology. How a coach does what they do is only of real concern once an approach has been made and even then I find many senior leaders willing to engage in a wide range of approaches if they have confidence that it will help them deliver what they need.

Leaders don’t care

For many busy, under pressure, highly accountable and highly regulated senior executives of large organisations the key point is this, the delivery mechanism of change and performance improvement is much less important than the results themselves. Due to the very subjective nature of individual Executive Development, leaders will firstly engage coaches (and mentors) that have been recommended to them and secondly, those coaches who have a great track record of helping other senior leaders achieve demonstrably great results.

Caveat emptor

Buyers of coaching should not look for coaches, they should look at the results and the areas of focus that those selling coaching and mentoring can demonstrate that they have been able to help bring about. Therein lies a challenge because of the confidential nature of much of what goes on in coaching sessions but there are ways to get at that information.

Coaches could make things a lot easier for buyers by focusing less on their approaches to coaching, their accreditation etc (all important, of course!) and spend much more space helping those purchasing their services to understand what observable differences their work will bring about. For professionals who spend a lot of time being empathic in our practice of coaching it is too easy not to be similarly empathic towards buyers who want to help leaders develop. Think results and outcomes first, approach, methodology etc second.

Glenn P Wallis works with senior executives and teams to bring about significant, positive performance level changes, quickly and sustainably. His focus is on leaders leading in a way that blends strength and clarity with humility and a deep connection with those they lead. If you would like to engage Glenn to work with you or your senior leaders, please contact him here.

 

Me? Exec. development? Of course: Because I’m worth it

Exec developmetn

What tends to happen to your own development the more senior you become as a leader?

Yep. It tends to be put on the back burner and you – often for very laudable reasons – support everyone else’s opportunity to grab some L&D, before or in the place of you engaging in development for yourself.

The reasons executives tend to do this are many and varied, including:

  • Selflessness
  • Cost consciousness
  • Sense of being skilled enough
  • Not a priority
  • Insufficient time

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail in order to help you make a case (to you) for keeping up some development for yourself:

Selflessness

When the reason for senior execs not engaging in development is genuinely that they want to give others the time and the space to do so, it can be a very generous gesture and one that others appreciate deeply. As a strategy it is fine to adopt in the short or medium-term, just make sure it doesn’t become a long-term approach as the pace of change in the business world requires that your own skills as a leader need sharpening often,

Cost Consciousness

Nah, Not having it. I appreciate the sentiment for quoting cost awareness as a reason for senior execs not engaging in their own development but in my experience it is usually an excuse for not actually wanting to undertake development at all. Cost consciousness also misses the key point for me: As the most senior leaders in the organisation you have the greatest reach and influence. As a result you have the opportunity to add the greatest value to the greatest number. Therefore, the better you are able to lead, the greater the positive influence you are able to exercise.

It maybe that you are unable to afford any development as a company – fine. But when things improve, ensure senior leader development is back on the agenda early.

Skilled enough

This is a regular mistake. You may be skilled enough as the Lawyer, Finance Director or Human Resource Director but what about as a person and as a leader? Are you the finished article in these areas and disciplines? I know you are not arrogant enough to suggest you are, so please don’t stop developing your leadership skills and evolving as a human being just because you have a seat at the top table – it’s short-sighted and will limit your career and effectiveness.

Not a priority

Wrong. In order for you to meet the ever changing situations and contexts in which you lead, development should always be a priority. Getting better at what you do is not just a result of attending a Business School programme or engaging a mentor. It might be that you prioritise reading a respected trade or leadership journal every month; it might be as simple as creating an hour a week to review your own performance as an Executive in order to inform how you might do even better next week. Whatever routes you pursue to access your development, ensure that it remains a priority.

Insufficient time

Of all the reasons Executives give for not engaging in their own development this (closely related to several other reasons) is the most oft quoted. I don’t buy it. If you prioritise development sufficiently then you can and will find the time for it. I find it ironic that people often talk to me about their time pressures during a two hour coaching session … ? The other option is to engage in your development outside of work hours, especially where that work is much more strategic in nature, such as developmental coaching. Stop watching the latest season of Game of Thrones or The Crown and use an hour or two of your own time to invest in yourself. Indeed some senior Execs I have worked with see development as part of their own reward strategy for a job well done. Is that an approach you could adopt?

At the nub of much of the obstacle to executive development is understanding its significance to the organisation. If the most senior leaders are well developed human beings, who can lead effectively even when under the often extreme pressure that goes with the role, then the organisation is much more likely to thrive. Yes, those in more junior roles also need development opportunities too but if you can begin to lead effectively from the top, your impact on the success of the business is multiplied simply by dint of the reach that you have. Engage in your development today because “you’re worth it”.

Glenn Wallis provides executive development for senior leaders. He also speaks and writes on leadership. If you want to discuss your own development needs, contact Glenn here.