Thursday, January 16, 2014

What Is Custom Leadership?

6 new assumptions that hail the individual choice and challenge the one-size-fits all management style.

In our customized ringtone, pick your smart device color and have it our way world, the approach to leadership training is also changing. As organizations grapple with the demands of a multi-generational workforce, a seismic shift is taking place over a management grooming process that has been rather traditional in approach and execution.

Just as businesses are redefining themselves in a new normal, leadership techniques need to be fluent to adapt to technology, global competition and generational influences.

Successful Custom Leadership is being built upon new assumptions that take into account the multi-generational workforce. Here are 6 ways to make a better connection:

1 – Meet THEM where they are. Take into account their current leadership level and expand from that point. Connect with the multi-generations; multi-learning styles as well as varied levels of experience are critical to meeting participants where they reside.

2 – Design for even shorter attention spans. Leaders at all levels are multi-tasking and expecting information delivery in bits and bytes.  Just as they are very connected to their smart devices for updates and information, they may be less inclined to attend a workshop. That doesn’t mean the content isn’t valuable, it just isn’t being delivered in a manner that is well received.  Design engaging and meaningful content with added interesting activities is one way to hold attention.

3 РThis not your parents training program! Let leaders know upfront that this is not the old-fashioned, sit-down and listen-up clich̩ training programs where multitudes of talking heads drone on about the acceptable ways to lead with a hard-to-digest download of data.

4 – Leverage the cohort. There is so much knowledge, experience and in many cases, wisdom in a group of leaders, that using them as part of the learning experience is key to long-term success. Personal networking and connecting in a social media world is great, but taking full advantage of the in-person sharing proves to be extremely valuable.

5 – Engage and delight! Vary the pace and activity level, but also remember an added surprise gets desired attention. One of the ways to accomplish this is through a Virtual Team role-play. Create fictional direct reports that can be seen onscreen virtually or use live actors for a sense of realism in a workshop. This level of skill practice is tough, meaningful and very effective.

6 – Provide many avenues for follow-up and continued learning. The “one and done” is no longer valid in our ever-changing world. Business moves at the speed of light, and keeping up our part as a leader, is an ongoing challenge. Stay connected to cohort members, have online resource to continuously learn and read case studies to learn from others and avoid their mistakes.

Custom leadership into today’s world also needs to have a big dose of humanity. People are very hungry to connect. Employees, especially Millennials, want a strong and effective business relationship. This is part of the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me!) process that this young, talented generation expects on the job.

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