To be a successful leader practice self-development

It was only a matter of time before Grant was pushed out the door. The feedback from the business unit clients was that they were unhappy with him and his department. Projects were off the rails, day-to-day operations were patchy, and there was no confidence they could contribute to business strategy. He was sure that the clients did not know what they wanted, and they changed their priorities when it suited them. Plenty of people would have agreed with him; he was right and they were wrong. But something had to give.  

He agreed to focus on his leadership behaviour to see if he could shift the needle on client satisfaction.  

Grant had a quick intellect and an impressive ability to cut through the clutter. But his stakeholders saw him as abrasive. He realised that his quick analytical ability was both a blessing and a curse. Sure, he could come up with an immediate solution to a problem, but he did not bring his key stakeholders, including his own team, along with him. In fact, he was impatient if they did not keep up.  

He realised that he had not invested the time to listen to his clients and understand their priorities and market challenges. They welcomed his regular review sessions to track progress of projects they sponsored. He also showed he valued their views by instituting a client satisfaction survey to capture their perceptions. 

The clients enjoyed Grant’s fresh approach and took ownership of their program of work. His team modelled Grant’s behaviour and gave up playing the blame game with their clients. Far from being shown the door, the business now sees Grant as a valuable member of the executive leadership team and an asset to the business.

A critical factor in transforming the relationship with his clients was Grant’s willingness to invest in self-development and alter his leadership behaviour. 

Zenger Folkman research identified key behaviours for self-development:

✴️ Seeks feedback from others to improve and develop.
✴️ Makes constructive efforts to change and improve based on feedback from others.
✴️ Constantly looks for developmental opportunities.
✴️ Continually develops depth and breadth in key competencies. 
✴️ Demonstrates a curiosity toward learning.
✴️ Takes ownership of own development.
✴️ Looks for ways to build challenge into current assignments.
✴️ Learns from both success and failure.
✴️ Models self-development and embraces its value.
🙋 Which of these key behaviours appeals to you? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian

Click here to complete a brief survey for our new book, The Gentle Art of Leadership. We would love to hear your insights. 👏