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If you need to develop leaders and managers in your company, then this blog post is for you.

Your company is run by people. No matter how many systems, processes, and automations you have, at the end of the day, your company is run by people. As your company grows and you hire more people, the need for management and leadership development becomes more evident.

If you want to build an enduring organization that enriches your life rather than sucks the life out of you, then building leaders is vital. Leaders create an environment where people can thrive and be successful. Leaders inspire others to do their best and make a difference. Leaders take charge when needed and set the example for others to follow. Leaders are not born, they are made.

I need all the leader-managers at my company marching to the same beat, speaking the same language, moving forward and upward together. Leaders are not born, they are made. Jason Phillips

Yes, leadership is a skill that can be learned. While there are many leadership development programs available, not many teach practical applications that you can empower your team with.

What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development is the process of helping individuals grow and develop their abilities to lead and manage others. The goals of leadership development are to help employees improve their effectiveness in their jobs, increase team productivity, and build positive relationships with co-workers. There are many different methods that can be used to achieve these goals, but the most important aspect is that leadership development be tailored specifically for the individual being developed.

How to Get Started with Leadership Development

With so many options for leadership development out there, deciding where to start can be overwhelming. Don’t worry; by the end of this article, you will have a plan of action that you can implement as early as tomorrow.

Leadership development is not an event, a project, or a push. Leadership development must become a pillar of your culture.

Leadership development must become a pillar of your culture. Jason Phillips

How I develop Leaders at My Company

I have been a student of leadership for over three decades, and what I am about to share with you is the most effective process I have seen to develop a leadership team. I need all the leader-managers at my company marching to the same beat, speaking the same language, moving forward and upward together. My bet is that you feel the same way. The good news is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel or spend a ton of money to develop leaders. There are plenty of great resources available.

Any good team is a mix of people with different personalities and skills…and they all learn differently. On my team, some leaders work primarily in the field, like my sales and production managers, while others are mainly in the office, like my human resources, head accountant, and marketing managers. They all have their “day job”…the whirlwind. Keeping everyone on the same page could be likened to trying to baptize cats.

In order to ensure we all move forward together, we have decided to learn and grow together. It takes commitment, but it’s definitely worth it.

A number of years back, I read The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni, and it rocked my world. I knew that I had work to do on me and on my team.

Here’s what I did (and still do today):

I purchased each leader a hard copy of the book, and then I scheduled two weekly 90-minute “lunch and learn” training meetings where we would start out eating a sack lunch for 15-20 minutes, and then I would play the audiobook version on a speaker placed in the middle of our conference table while everyone followed along in the book. Cell phones and interruptions were strictly prohibited, and each person was fully committed to this time. Nothing was allowed to get in the way.

I could have just told everyone to read the chapters on their own time and then just discuss them at the meeting, but I knew some would do it, others would skim, some would cram, and some would wing it. I was NOT ok with this. Dealing with trust issues on the team was vital, and I was not going to lose any time or ground.

The Advantage deals with the foundation issue of trust among team members, and I needed to know for sure that every single leader on my team was learning this. With this method, I knew for sure that every single leader was actually getting and processing the critical information Lencioni was presenting.

Before the series of trainings were begun, I divided the book into segments of 30-40 minutes of reading/listening. So we would listen and then discuss. The discussion after the reading was as valuable or more valuable than the reading itself.

We continued until the book was done. Once we had grown from the new knowledge, we went on to the next book. We still do it this way today…because it works! It works!

I personally make this a priority and set the example. It’s that important. It’s not rocket science. When choosing resources(books), I want ones that give my team real tools they can put to work right away, not concepts….tools.

Here are just some of the books we have done together:

There are many more, but these are a great place to start in building your leaders. Again, these will provide you and your people with tools they can use to lead, manage, and grow.

Adopting the Language of Leadership

As we read different resources, key takeaways become part of our culture. Terms from Traction, like Level 10 meeting or Quarterly Conversation. From The Ideal Team Player…humble, hungry, smart. From Crucial Conversations… CPR. The list goes on and on. Every time we reference a term or acronym, we all know the power and deep meaning of what we are talking about without having to spend a lot of time explaining it. It’s powerful.

It will be the same for you.

Simple Plan of Action

Here’s a simple plan of action.

  1. Choose a book (the list above is a great place to start)
  2. Read it, listen to it, and highlight key takeaways
  3. Purchase a copy for each person
  4. Get the audiobook
  5. Schedule the meetings (ensure this is a priority)
  6. Meet, listen, discuss, and implement
  7. Adopt the language

In Summary

This simple process is like a done-for-you leadership training program.  It can help you become a better leader and develop your team members. The only way to really make your company better is to make your people better. Invest your time in them. Get them all marching to the same beat. I promise this will have a positive impact on your company. You get better. They get better. Your company gets better. Everyone wins.