If you did your job in the hiring process, the employees at your company don’t want to stay where they are forever.
They want to learn and grow. They want to develop greater self-awareness so they can better apply their talents to your organization. They want you to help them better contribute—and that’s what you should want to.
Your leaders and managers can be better positioned to thrive when they are equipped to recognize their unique strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and leadership styles.
As a McKinsey & Company report notes, “Too many training initiatives we come across rest on the assumption that one size fits all and that the same group of skills or style of leadership is appropriate regardless of strategy, organizational culture or CEO mandate.”
Your company needs to train leaders who know themselves well and can make their highest contribution to the organization. Those people tend to find more fulfillment in their roles and stay engaged at a higher level—all good things for your company.
The growth of leaders in your company depends on how well they know themselves—their talents, personalities, and behavioral hardwiring. If they want to grow outwardly, they must get intentional about looking inward and discovering more about themselves.
Here are 7 questions to encourage leadership development and greater self-awareness. Pass these along to potential leaders in your company and incorporate them into planning for leadership development initiatives:
1. Are they squeezing into someone else’s success box?
A company can unintentionally create an environment where employees feel the pressure to fit within someone else’s definition of success. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations can come from within as well as from without. All leaders perform best when they don’t need to fit a certain personality profile or a preconceived notion of success.
2. Have they identified their most dangerous blind spots?
Identifying natural strengths can be a great contribution to the team, but with those strengths come potential “blind spots.” Leaders often fail to see weaknesses because they presume everyone sees the world from the perspective of their own strengths. By knowing where they might not see well, leaders can surround themselves with other team members who see those areas more clearly.
3. How well do they interact with people who are their opposites?
We all tend to naturally gravitate toward people who are wired like us. As the relationship grows, however, those similarities can produce friction and, like sandpaper, slowly wear down the relationship. On the other hand, we all struggle to understand the perspective of people who are wired differently than us, producing disconnect ona team. When leaders know themselves better, they more easily recognize the potential hazards in interacting with others on the team.
4. What relationship keys will position them to take their leadership to the next level?
By figuring out how they best relate to others, leaders can head off potential people problems before they develop. Connecting with people will always be at the heart of effective leadership development. Understanding how they naturally tend to interact with others—what do they expect and what might others expect form them—will help them connect with people and drive their leadership development from position to permission.
5. How are they naturally wired to deal with confrontation?
Conflict is unavoidable. It’s part of the human condition. The question is: do leaders care enough about others to discover how they are wired to deal with it? By understanding their natural responses to conflict, they can leverage their strengths and avoid creating additional struggles for everyone. When they understand how they are naturally wired to respond to confrontation, they can choose their best response to fit the situation and minimize disruption to the team.
6. How do they naturally respond to change?
We live in a world of rapid change. For leaders to succeed, they must encourage growth and show how to make it happen. But that doesn’t mean everyone is naturally wired to embrace change. In fact, every person is wired to respond to change differently. How leaders are hard-wired to respond to change is neither good nor bad in itself, but understanding it prepares them to seize an opportunity instead of run from it.
7. Are they leveraging their behavioral hardwiring to increase influence?
If leaders understand how they are best wired to lead, they can lift their leadership lid—and lift the company as they grow. When leaders know their own strengths and struggles, they can better set priorities for growth and identify situations where they can deliver maximum value to others. Their leadership development potential —for better or worse— always determines their effectiveness and potential for success, because everything rises and falls on leadership.
Use these game-changing questions to evaluate the effectiveness of your company’s training initiatives. When your leaders know the answers to these questions, they will be better equipped to grow—and take the entire company with them.