Leadership programs' greatest mistake is isolating the leaders from the teams they are serving.
How do we imagine developing leaders without the input of their teams? It is impossible.
Even the best programs will not address any of the teams' issues with their leaders.
Programs must include the leaders working together with their teams drawing upon employees' experiences, and addressing leadership capabilities together.
Your success as a leader is in the hands of your team. So if you are really serious about developing yourself based on the needs of the team, here are three questions you can start with:
- What do you think of me as a leader?
- What should I do differently?
- What am I doing right?
Then sit back and listen. Don't say anything. Just take the feedback. Your team will tell you (if you have created a psychologically safe environment as a leader) all about your learning needs that no book, course, or trainer ever will. They are whom you are serving; they have your training needs analysis.
You will feel a great urge to defend yourself (it is normal to feel that way), but you have to keep listening. Take notes, show that you are listening and say nothing.
Subsequently, look at the feedback you have received and look for patterns. If 15 people said that you are ......... (whatever that may be), then it is time to accept the fact that you do behave, think or come across in a certain way.
Therein lies your lesson.
Use the information during your course or when selecting a leadership book to find solutions to the problems. Don't just read or sign up for random leadership courses. Align your development with your team's needs.
Keep them involved in your leadership development journey. Remember, you are travelling together in the same both!