HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

From lambs to lions

Knowing how to train leadership qualities will benefit the employee and the firm
From lambs to lions
NAME
 

From lambs to lions


Knowing how to train leadership qualities will benefit the employee and the firm

Words by Dan Cave| Design by Theo Griffin
 
stairs


Leadership development appears to be coming back into vogue. It’s unsurprising, really, given current macro-political and economic trends – What form will Brexit take? Are we in a recession? Is the make-up of my workforce going to be impacted? – as well as the evolving nature of business itself. Speaking to HR Grapevine, Jig Ramji, Global Head of Leadership and Talent Development at Bloomberg LP explains that in such conditions it’s not clear which organisations will survive. “However, the one thing people can point to is that organisations can survive if they invest in strong leadership – not only at the top of the organisation but throughout,” he says.

Coupled with Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends survey findings – highlighting an increased demand for a set of leadership skills that many firms currently don’t have – it’s clear that there is an acute pressure on obtaining these necessary leadership capabilities, whether through hiring or training. This responsibility often falls on HR. Whilst it is usually fairly obvious, via research, which capabilities will be needed – Deloitte’s study of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders pinpointed the most in-demand skills as the ability to collaborate in a cross-functional manner, understanding how to adequately communicate positions on social issues and creating a business purpose outside of making money as well as being perceptive with the implantation of tech – knowing how to develop leadership capabilities is another kettle of fish entirely.

Whilst 80% of Deloitte’s respondents believe that they need to develop leaders differently, there’s a lack of know-how on what form this will take. In fact, the consultancy boffins found a staggering disconnect between the leadership capabilities organisations desperately need today and the skills leaders had. This is despite most respondents putting professional learning and leadership ability as two out of the top three channels that organisations need to excel in to thrive in this new business landscape. However, help is at hand.

To get to grips with the new landscape firms such as Microsoft, IBM, Yodel, Knight Frank, Disney, Barclays, Bloomberg, McCANN and Royal Dutch Shell have all recently upgraded or re-aligned their leadership development programmes – with particular focus on where leadership capabilities are needed, how these programmes align with the overarching business and people strategies and how to abet all employees, not just executives, with these skills

 

Jim Boneau, Principal Facilitator & Leadership Coach at The Rumble Group shares 5 employer tips for communicating leadership qualities to employees:

  • 1 Senior leadership buy-in
    Without the endorsement, sponsorship and participation of executive and senior leadership, an organisation’s ability to have positive influence and impact on the development of current leaders [is limited].

  • 2 Align leadership qualities to the values of the organisation
    The development and education of leaders in an organisation should be based on content, practices and beliefs that represent the overall values of the [firm].

  • 3 Include Diversity and Inclusion as a part of leadership development
    To ensure leadership qualities are communicated effectively, these qualities must be made relevant and meaningful to everyone in the organisation, regardless of background. Diversity and Inclusion as a topic in leadership development curriculum sends the message that diversity and inclusion is critical for success.

  • 4 Pursue multiple avenues for offering leadership development
    A leadership development strategy should offer flexible learning opportunities: classroom, online, self-paced, study groups, lunch and learns, leader-led programmes and simulations to name a few.

  • 5 Listen and learn
    For effective leadership development, curriculum needs to address both the aspirational vision of the organisation and the everyday challenges leaders face in unlocking the potential of all their employees. The only way to learn what’s really happening at all levels of the organisation is to get curious and listen.

“We wanted to make sure that all of our leaders were upskilled and understood what the strategy meant to them so they could lead people in line with that”

Align with the business and have senior stakeholders
Harriet Shurville, People Director at McCANN Worldgroup, the advertising agency behind iconic campaigns for Nespresso, Ikea and Mastercard, explains to HR Grapevine that the London-headquartered firm have had a fair bit of success with their recent leadership development scheme. “There has been great feedback from people coming out the session. People are enjoying the different skills they’ve been learning, the variety,” she says. “People engaged in it all the way through and its been such a success that we’re rolling it out to all the different agencies.”

So, what did she do to get this kind of success and, crucially, what did the programme look like? In the mechanics, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from what other companies are doing. There were four separate training days, each focusing on a different aspect of leadership: the transition from colleague and friend to boss; leadership behaviours and personality types; giving feedback and understanding team dynamics; and, finally, a focus on values, decision-making and critical thinking. Yet, Shurville explains that the McCANN plan to abet its organisation with leadership qualities was helped by involving stakeholders, having clear measurement and top-down buy-in and aligning it with the people strategy.

“[The leadership programme] came from last year when we relaunched our people and talent strategy so with that we reset our view of people. We wanted to make sure that all of our leaders were upskilled and understood what the strategy meant to them so they could lead people in line with that,” Shurville explains. She adds that an employee survey was rolled out before so the programme could be responsive to staff needs.

Getting buy-in was also helped by having company leadership intimately involved. “We did a launch session with our MD and L&D Director. All the managers got in a room [so we could] explain why we’re doing it, the importance of it, the work they’re doing and the different insights they’re getting. It got everyone really excited about it,” she adds. “I wanted people to see it and feel it rather than just say it. It’s important they felt part of that launch and that we understand how they’re aligned to that and managing and leading people through that.” This approach correlates with contemporary thinking whereby organisational change, or new schemes, can be better implemented if those at the apex of a business are involved. A recent Inc.com article stated that top-down communication can be crucial in such matters.

 
 
leader

“Success is about how you engage with your stakeholders and communicating things in a way that captures hearts and minds”

Leadership in a language that employees recognise
At Bloomberg, ensuring the employees understand what leadership means at the firm, and how they can focus on improving their own leadership qualities, involved creating a framework that stemmed from the organisation’s leaders themselves. By surveying leaders across the firm – from line manager to executives – the leadership development team were able to create a coherent, and specific, Bloomberg language around leadership. “What we found was really interesting,” Ramji reveals. “Regardless of who you were, or what type of leader you were, there were six themes that were consistent across the board.”

These ‘themes’ – regarding behaviours and actions – were then used to inform a learning hub that could be accessed by those wanting to improve upon their own leadership skills as well as those needing to assess the state of leadership at Bloomberg. Launched in July this year, it hopes to give employees control over their learning as well as an understanding of what the organisation needs.

Communication is key
However, it all comes with a caveat though. “You can be the best designers of a service or a product – it can even be the best thing you’ve made in your career – but if you don’t communicate it in the right way, you’ll go bust,” Ramji admits. “Success is about how you engage with your stakeholders and communicating things in a way that captures hearts and minds.” Both Ramji and Shurville have worked to ensure that they had strong internal marketing, aligned the programmes with the business strategy and secured executive sponsorship too. In this way, leadership qualities are shown to be important, accessible and relevant – which can improve employee buy-in when attempting to sell a development course to them.

 

 
lion
title

Leadership development appears to be coming back into vogue. It’s unsurprising, really, given current macro-political and economic trends – What form will Brexit take? Are we in a recession? Is the makeup of my workforce going to be impacted? – as well as the evolving nature of business itself. Speaking to HR Grapevine, Jig Ramji, Global Head of Leadership and Talent Development at Bloomberg LP explains that in such conditions it’s not clear which organisations will survive. “However, the one thing people can point to is that organisations can survive if they invest in strong leadership – not only at the top of the organisation but throughout,” he says.

Coupled with Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends survey findings – highlighting an increased demand for a set of leadership skills that many firms currently don’t have – it’s clear that there is an acute pressure on obtaining these necessary leadership capabilities, whether through hiring or training. This responsibility often falls on HR. Whilst it is usually fairly obvious, via research, which capabilities will be needed – Deloitte’s study of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders pinpointed the most in-demand skills as the ability to collaborate in a cross-functional manner, understanding how to adequately communicate positions on social issues and creating a business purpose outside of making money as well as being perceptive with the implantation of tech – knowing how to develop leadership capabilities is another kettle of fish entirely.

 

stairs

 

Whilst 80% of Deloitte’s respondents believe that they need to develop leaders differently, there’s a lack of know-how on what form this will take. In fact, the consultancy boffins found a staggering disconnect between the leadership capabilities organisations desperately need today and the skills leaders had. This is despite most respondents putting professional learning and leadership ability as two out of the top three channels that organisations need to excel in to thrive in this new business landscape. However, help is at hand.

To get to grips with the new landscape firms such as Microsoft, IBM, Yodel, Knight Frank, Disney, Barclays, Bloomberg, McCANN and Royal Dutch Shell have all recently upgraded or re-aligned their leadership development programmes – with particular focus on where leadership capabilities are needed, how these programmes align with the overarching business and people strategies and how to abet all employees, not just executives, with these skills.

 

Jim Boneau, Principal Facilitator & Leadership Coach at The Rumble Group shares 5 employer tips for communicating leadership qualities to employees:

  • 1 Senior leadership buy-in
    Without the endorsement, sponsorship and participation of executive and senior leadership, an organisation’s ability to have positive influence and impact on the development of current leaders and building their pipeline of future leaders.

  • 2 Align leadership qualities to the values of the organisation
    The development and education of leaders in an organisation should be based on content, practices and beliefs that represent the overall values of the [firm].

  • 3 Include Diversity and Inclusion as a part of leadership development:
    To ensure leadership qualities are communicated effectively, these qualities must be made relevant and meaningful to everyone in the organisation, regardless of background. Diversity and Inclusion as a topic in leadership development curriculum sends the message that diversity and inclusion is critical for success.

  • 4 Pursue multiple avenues for offering leadership development
    A leadership development strategy should offer flexible learning opportunities: classroom, online, self-paced, study groups, lunch and learns, leader-led programmes and simulations to name a few.

  • 5 Listen and learn
    For effective leadership development, curriculum needs to address both the aspirational vision of the organisation and the everyday challenges leaders face in unlocking the potential of all their employees. The only way to learn what’s really happening at all levels of the organisation is to get curious and listen.

 

Align with the business and have senior stakeholdersHarriet Shurville, People Director at McCANN Worldgroup, the advertising agency behind iconic campaigns for Nespresso, Ikea and Mastercard, explains to HR Grapevine that the London-headquartered firm have had a fair bit of success with their recent leadership development scheme. “There has been great feedback from people coming out the session. People are enjoying the different skills they’ve been learning, the variety,” she says. “People engaged in it all the way through and its been such a success that we’re rolling it out to all the different agencies.”

So, what did she do to get this kind of success and, crucially, what did the programme look like? In the mechanics, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from what other companies are doing. There were four separate training days, each focusing on a different aspect of leadership: the transition from colleague and friend to boss; leadership behaviours and personality types; giving feedback and understanding team dynamics; and, finally, a focus on values, decision-making and critical thinking. Yet, Shurville explains that the McCANN plan to abet its organisation with leadership qualities was helped by involving stakeholders, having clear measurement and top-down buy-in and aligning it with the people strategy.

“We wanted to make sure that all of our leaders were upskilled and understood what the strategy meant to them so they could lead people in line with that”

“[The leadership programme] came from last year when we relaunched our people and talent strategy so with that we reset our view of people. We wanted to make sure that all of our leaders were upskilled and understood what the strategy meant to them so they could lead people in line with that,” Shurville explains. She adds that an employee survey was rolled out before so the programme could be responsive to staff needs.

Getting buy-in was also helped by having company leadership intimately involved. “We did a launch session with our MD and L&D Director. All the managers got in a room [so we could] explain why we’re doing it, the importance of it, the work they’re doing and the different insights they’re getting. It got everyone really excited about it,” she adds. “I wanted people to see it and feel it rather than just say it. It’s important they felt part of that launch and that we understand how they’re aligned to that and managing and leading people through that.” This approach correlates with contemporary thinking whereby organisational change, or new schemes, can be better implemented if those at the apex of a business are involved. A recent Inc.com article stated that top-down communication can be crucial in such matters.

 

leader

 

Leadership in a language that employees recognise
At Bloomberg, ensuring the employees understand what leadership means at the firm, and how they can focus on improving their own leadership qualities, involved creating a framework that stemmed from the organisation’s leaders themselves. By surveying leaders across the firm – from line manager to executives – the leadership development team were able to create a coherent, and specific, Bloomberg language around leadership. “What we found was really interesting,” Ramji reveals. “Regardless of who you were, or what type of leader you were, there were six themes that were consistent across the board.”

These ‘themes’ – regarding behaviours and actions – were then used to inform a learning hub that could be accessed by those wanting to improve upon their own leadership skills as well as those needing to assess the state of leadership at Bloomberg. Launched in July this year, it hopes to give employees control over their learning as well as an understanding of what the organisation needs.

“Success is about how you engage with your stakeholders and communicating things in a way that captures hearts and minds”

However, it all comes with a caveat though. “You can be the best designers of a service or a product – it can even be the best thing you’ve made in your career – but if you don’t communicate it in the right way, you’ll go bust,” Ramji admits. “Success is about how you engage with your stakeholders and communicating things in a way that captures hearts and minds.” Both Ramji and Shurville have worked to ensure that they had strong internal marketing, aligned the programmes with the business strategy and secured executive sponsorship too. In this way, leadership qualities are shown to be important, accessible and relevant – which can improve employee buy-in when attempting to sell a development course to them.

lion

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