Total Excellence Centre | Developing Leadership Potential

Developing Leadership Potential

When investing in training, start with your leaders, because sharpening their skills funnels down to a multiplied number of employees.
  • 2 min read
  • 12 July 2019
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When investing in training, start with your leaders, because sharpening their skills funnels down to a multiplied number of employees.

In fact, according to the Brandon Hall Leadership Survey 2015, “Great companies spend an average of 32% of their training budget on leadership development”. Another study, conducted by, finds that “Almost two-thirds of companies that have increased turnover in the past 12 months have developed their leadership and management as a top priority”.

So, we know who to invest in and how much, but what is the psychology of great leadership, and how can your business gain traction from it?

The psychology of great leadership in four steps

1. Before you begin. Are your leaders ready to embrace development?

If they’re not, any attempt at pushing your leaders to progress could be met with friction or, worse still, flat-out refusal to engage.

2. The starting point. Understand strengths and assess developmental needs

If a learning and development programme is to be effective, key questions must be answered, such as what your leaders are naturally skilled at, and what requires work? Being honest, gaining a 360-degree viewpoint, plus getting the views and input of your leaders’ teams is mission-critical.

3. Develop/establish emotional and situational intelligence

Before moving onto the three groupings of skills that all leaders must continually develop, you must first establish two non-negotiable founding skillsets. The first being a shrewd situational-awareness, both internally and externally. The second, a deep sense of empathy, whether dealing with those on the shop floor or the boardroom. When leaders lack these foundations, all other more focused skills, fall away.

The cost of lacking empathy is demonstrated by former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who among her first workforce overhauls, removed the option to work from home, a move that not only alienated scores of previously loyal workers, but caused global outrage when the story hit the media.

As for lacking situational-awareness, it’s hard not to reference Ron Johnson, former head of retail operations at Apple. Whilst his concept of “turning the boring computer sales floor into a sleek playroom filled with gadgets” worked at Apple. For US retailer J.C. Penney, his move to do away with regular sales was a disaster, because the target market of J.C. Penney LOVED sales. This, among other errors, led to shares declining by 51%.

4. Develop a strategy around the three leadership skill groups

Moving onwards to the harder skills of effective leadership, we can hone in on three groups…

Mentoring – Growing sales and hitting targets by harnessing your people

Creativity & Enterprise – Fostering creativity and challenging it for enterprise in the workplace

Speaking & Presenting – Communicate ideas in a clear, confident and compelling manner

Looking for leadership support? Contact Total Excellence Centre today on 0161 274 9292 or to view our forthcoming funded ILM programmes, click here.

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