Tag Archives: Leadership development

Training or Mentorship to Build Leadership Skills?

Peter Harms

Leadership development services are at least a USD $134 billion annual expenditure in the US, leading many to question the estimated and actual Return on Investment (ROI).

Paul Lester

Paul Lester

A six-month study of U.S. Military Academy cadets at West Point provided answers.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Peter Harms collaborated with Paul Lester of the U.S. Army Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Directory, U.S. Military Academy’ Sean Hanna, Gretchen Vogelgesang of Federal Management Partners, and University of Washington’s Bruce Avolio to evaluate:

Sean Hanna

– Sean Hanna

  • -Candidates’s readiness to receive candid feedback from multiple sources,
  • Mentoring from a supportive leadership coach,

-Realistic advancement opportunities in the organization.

Bruce Avolio

Participants were randomly assigned to an individual mentorship program or classroom-based group leadership training.

Those who participated in the mentorships were significantly more likely to report increased confidence in assuming a leadership role than those in the classroom training.

The mentoring group’s effectiveness was significantly related to the mentorship coaches’ ability to:

  • Establish a trust-based collaborative relationship,
  • Provide support,
  • Offer candid observational feedback,
  • Advocate for cadets who exercise leadership.

Additionally, participants who reported greatest gains in leadership skills and confidence were:

  • Open to receiving candid feedback from mentors,
  • Willing to receive challenging developmental feedback.

The least expensive approach to leadership development did not produce the greatest results, suggesting the value of individualized leadership coaching

Ted Kaptchuk

Ted Kaptchuk

The powerful effect of individual attention was demonstrated when attention from experts provided a placebo effect for 250 patients with documented symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Those who received the most individualized attention in three no-treatment conditions reported the greatest symptom relief even though they received no medical intervention and participants were informed that the “treatment” was a placebo, reported Harvard’s Ted Kaptchuk.

The most important “active ingredient” in leadership development training may be personalized attention, followed by candidates’s willingness to receive candid feedback and to implement recommendations.

 -*How has personalized mentoring helped you develop leadership competencies?

©Kathryn Welds


Creating Productive Thought Patterns

Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis

Leaders’ actions actions are influenced by internal commentaries.
Often, these thoughts are self-critical and provoke anxiety.

Aaron Beck

Aaron Beck

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), developed by University of Pennsylvania’s Aaron Beck, provides a systematic way to restructure “irrational self-talk“,  as do Albert Ellis‘s Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (RET), and David Burnssynthesis of CBT and RET.

David Burns

David Burns

Arizona State University’s Charles Manz and Chris Neck  translated these self-management concepts to managerial development.
They outlined a Thought Self-Leadership Procedure as a five-step feedback loop:

Charles Manz

Charles Manz

1. Observe and record thoughts,
2. Analyze thoughts,
3. Develop new thoughts,
4. Substitute new thoughts,
5. Monitor and Maintain new, more productive thoughts.

Screenshot 2023-03-04 at 10.06.57Additional strategies for Productive Thought Patterns at work were summarised by writer Parismita Goswami, drawing on evidence-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy appproaches.

John Crimmins

John Crimmins

Other recommendations to tame workplace stress come from John Crimmins of Behaviour Institute.

-*What practices do you use to develop and apply productive thought patterns?

©Kathryn Welds

ROI of Effective Managers

Dilbert and Pointy-Haired Boss

Dilbert and Pointy-Haired Boss

Inept managers cause stress, cynical posting of Dilbert cartoons, and foment incredulous recounting of unparalleled cluelessness.
However, the all-too-rare effective manager delivers a creditable Return on Investment.

Edward Lazear

Edward Lazear

Stanford’s Edward Lazear and Kathryn Shaw collaborated with Christopher Stanton, now of of University of Utah to study the impact of nearly 2000 supervisors on more than 23,000 employees’ output productivity in a large  services firm.

Kathryn Shaw

Kathryn Shaw

They found that although there is substantial variation in managerial quality, as measured by their effect on worker productivity, the skillful managers in this workplace improved productivity by 10 percent.

Christopher Stanton

Christopher Stanton

Lazear, Shaw and Stanton demonstrated that replacing managers rated in the lower 10% of boss quality by employee output with managers in the upper 10%, the resulting increase in team total output is about the same amount as adding one worker to a nine member team.

In addition, effective managers are associated with increased productivity among both top-rated workers and the lowest-performing workers, with greater performance increases among the firm‘s top performers.

The researchers noted that employees’ peers had negligible impact on productivity measures, so they concluded that productivity increases are significantly influenced by managerial behaviors.

These findings point to the importance of hiring skilled managers and improving or removing unskilled managers to drive productivity and associated profit.

As a result, pre-employment assessment and managerial training industries are required to demonstrate efficacy in selecting already-skilled managers, and transforming less-skilled managers into top performing supervisors.

Some argue that developing managerial skill is a long-term behavior change because many of the interpersonal behaviors of effective managers have long-standing characterological roots.

For example, Lazear reported that the best managers in this large sample demonstrated humility and a sense of humor in their efforts to teach and motivate employees.
These attitudes develop over years, and may not be amenable to short-term training interventions.

Randy Hodson

Randy Hodson

Randy Hodson of Ohio State University conducted an ethnographic study of “worker citizenship behavior”, including level of work effort, absenteeism, and employee engagement.

He found “manager citizenship behavior” has the greatest impact on employee engagement, work effort, and employee’s related productivity.
These management behaviors include:

  • Leadership practices
  • Communication style
  • Commitment to worker job security
  • Providing appropriate work supplies and tools to achieve workers’ output requirements
  • Absence of “management abuse.”

Managers who respected worker rights and maintained an effective, productive environment for workers  had workers who invested more efforts in work and achieved greater productivity, besides having a better relationship with each other and with bosses.

Watson Wyatt TowersWatson Wyatt’s WorkUSA 2009 survey of 13,000 full-time U.S. workers across all job levels and in all major industries that organizations with highly engaged employees had:

The report found waning employee engagement over job tenure:  Employee engagement is highest in the first six months on the job, and is more than 11 percent higher during that “honeymoon period” than for longer-tenure employees.
Employee engagement drops nine percent after the first six months on the job, and continues to decline.

Watson Wyatt’s regression analysis of these data found that this 11% decline in employee engagement has the same expected impact on employee productivity as a decline of assets per employee of nearly 0.6 percent.

To offset the impact on productivity, a typical firm would need to invest more than $2,700 per employee.

A similar regression analysis controlled for industry, firm size and capital intensity and estimated that 11% decline in engagement is associated with a 1.7 percent reduction in market value.
For the typical S&P 500 firm, this decreased expected market value could be $216 million, suggesting that managerial behavior is a critical determinant of productivity and ultimate market value.

The challenge for top management is to evaluate sustained improvement in managerial behavior attributable to managerial learning and development interventions, to ensure Return on Investment for managerial development.

-*What managerial attitudes and behaviors have you seen increase employee productivity?

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Leadership “From the Inside Out”

Kevin Cashman

Kevin Cashman

Kevin Cashman provides a leadership development frame that complements Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence concepts and Jim Collins’s delineation of Level 5 Leadership, in his book Leadership from the Inside Out.

He is Senior Partner, Korn/Ferry International, and Leadership From the Inside Outhis research and experience indicate that leadership effectiveness originates in the individual’s personal character.

If individuals wish to develop leadership skills, they must apply “learning agility” to acquire new perspectives and skills, then deploy them under new business circumstances.

Cashman reviewed the four elements of “learning agility”:

Mental agility, characterized by questioning solutions, consulting others, demonstrating openness

Interpersonal agility, based on effective, precise listening, using questions to elicit clarification

Results agility, or developing new approaches to achieve results, incorporate new ways to resolve problems

Change agility, which includes flexibility and adaptability

Cashman found three steps in leadership development, common across many approaches, and recommended these elements in any leadership development program:

Building Awareness – Self-discovery of strengths, development areas

Building Commitment – Developing emotional engagement to act on developmental needs and to apply strengths

Building Practice – Undertaking new actions such as journaling to build awareness, commitment and reflection on learnings.

The goal of these steps is to develop three aspects of leadership:

Authenticity, characterized by integrity, alignment between words and actions that is recognized by others; continued striving toward authenticity in future potential

Influence, involving the self-expression and application of personal strengths to create value

Value creation in work and community

Leadership from the Inside Out outlines seven related pathways to leadership mastery, with related practices.
Many of these recommendations may sound spiritual, philosophical, non-specific, and difficult to translate into specific actions.
One element of self-reflection in Cashman’s process may be to operationalize these recommendations into concrete, measurable actions:

Personal Mastery, based on developing self-awareness

Purpose Mastery involves applying talents to serve values and add value through authentic self-expression in leading others

Change Mastery, incorporates acceptance of uncertainty and impermanence to learn from these changes and demonstrate agility in adapting to new circumstances

Interpersonal Mastery relates to human connection, the second element of Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence. Collaboration is a foundation to create contribution and long-term value

Being Mastery represents a spiritual dimension, however the individual defines it, to connect one’s depth of character to support effectiveness and contribution

Balance Mastery refers to building, maintaining energy to foster resilience, effectiveness, fulfillment. It moves beyond time management, a practice to manage a limited resource, to generate and regenerate energy to lead

Action Mastery practices leading by coaching others and self to create value.

-*What actions have helped develop leadership from the inside out?

Related Posts:
The Considered “Pursuit of Less”
Whom Do You Serve as a (Level 5, Level 6) Leader?  
“Contemplative Neuroscience”: Transform your Mind, Change your Brain
Developing “Big 8” Job Competencies

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds