Demonstrating at Individual Level
- Proactively seeks developmental feedback and focuses on developing relevant capabilities: A leader, if he has to fulfill his responsibilities towards his stakeholders, he will constantly seek feedback from the same on 'what should he continue doing?', 'what should he stop doing?' and 'what should he start doing?’ and ‘what should he do differently?’ He will have the prudence to identify the trends on the key areas of development, which will make a big difference. He will relentlessly work on these development areas, not only by himself, but by seeking help from others as well.
- Takes initiative to practice and apply new skills: Gone are the days, when a manager will hold the finger of an employee and walk him on the development path. The development of an individual is his own responsibility. An individual will identify the skills, which support his short-term and long-term professional goals. He will seek the support of his manager as well as his mentors in this process. The same help will be sought to identify the opportunities which will enable him to learn as well as apply those skills.
- Clearly understands the goals of the organization and how his/her career and development plans fit in: A leader, in his individual capacity not only understands the organization strategy and business objectives, but also on how his life gets impacted by it. He will understand the changes which he has to make in his goals, his development plans and his priorities. He will not wait for all this to be told by his manager, but takes his own initiative to get clarity on the subject.
- Takes personal responsibility to create a development plan and initiates discussions with manager: As mentioned above, an employee is responsible for his development. The role of a manager is to support and guide his employee. A leader will constantly work on fine-tuning his own development plan. He will look for support to achieve his development goals not only with his manager but also from others.
- Pursues individual learning opportunities, even if they are outside his/her comfort zone: Every thing new has a mix of anxiety or unknowns attached to it. A leader pursues what is important development goal, irrespective of the discomfort or fear of failure attached to it.
- Looks for ways to build challenge and add value in current assignments: While one can wait for challenges & opportunities to be bestowed upon oneself by the management, one can seek challenges on his own. One can set-up more aggressive goals in the current job (doing more of what is to be done). One can also look at how to innovate (doing it differently...). Essentially an individual can on his own initiative, expand the boundaries of his current playground
- Supports the developmental efforts of others: A leader helps in supporting others and his peers in pursuing their development plans. He provides them the content as well as the expertise.
Demonstrating at Managerial Level
- Proactively coaches and/or mentors others to help improve their contribution: A leader will fulfill his responsibility in terms of coaching his team, on all fronts needed to achieve the development and business goals. Apart from his direct reports, he will also work on coaching and mentoring the employees working in natural teams under him. The coaching and mentoring is day job for a leader. A leader does not coach or mentors only through dedicated sessions, but he is in coaching mind-set as part of his day-to-day work.
- Provides positive as well as constructive feedback on an ongoing basis: please refer our tip on online feedback and balanced feedback. A leader gives both positive and negative feedback with same sense of sincerity and give it closer to the point of observation.
- Seeks ideas from others in improving the work group’s capabilities: A leader regularly approaches the customers, sponsors and business partners to take the feedback about his team. The feedback is taken on hard-skills, soft-skills and leadership competencies. This feedback does not only include the comments about performance, but also on the idea on how one can becomes cheaper, faster and better. The key here is that if you take the feedback, one needs to complete the loop by getting back to the respondents on what have you been doing about that feedback.
- Takes responsibility for holding regular coaching and development discussions with team members: This can be part of organization mandated process or on the leader's own initiative. A leader will be holding periodic and scheduled sessions. He will also be holding ad-hoc session as warranted. These sessions do not take away the need for online feedback and day-to-day coaching, and vice versa.
- Delegates tasks or assignments that maximize the contribution of each employee: A leader place the best man for the best job. A leader is aware of the skills, competencies and aspirations of the employees. He also carries the details of the goals and development plans of the employees.
- Connects the value of learning with team objectives and business goals: Development plans for an employee are an investment, and every investment has to have a business case. A leader should work with the employee to have the development goals, with a clear connect to the employee's work-goals. With an assumption that the work-goals of an individual are aligned with organization's business objectives, the loop between the development plans and company's road-map will be closed. The point to note is that all the development plan goals will not be limited to the immediate work-goals. Some level of development investment will need to be done for a longer term perspective.
- Creates structured learning opportunities for others: The development goals have to be supported by a well-laid out development plan, which will have list of activities, timelines, outcomes, measures of success etc...
- Constantly learns new skills which improve ability to lead the team: A leader will keep on enhancing his leadership capability. As he builds the leadership depth within his team, he has to keep on growing his own competencies to be able to maintain the lead, which he needs, to stay as a credible leader.
Demonstrating at Strategic Level
- Ensures that development process and systems are in place: A leader will ensure that there are robust and formal development processes/systems, which is mandatory for all to follow. Apart from that, he also sponsors the training of the leaders to understand, follow and cascades the letter & spirit of these systems.
- Oversees the overall development agenda: Strategically a leader will define the overall capabilities, which are needed to meet the short-term as well as long-term business objectives. He will include in his scorecard, on the progress made to meet the skill-inventory objectives. If a leader maintains his focus on measuring the progress of development agenda, the same spirit will be cascaded down the levels.
- Sets high standards for development: Setting high development standards has moved from a leader's 'self-initiative' to 'critical business need'. The speed of change is necessitating people to keep on upgrading and churning their skills at breath-taking levels. The practices, business-processes, technologies etc... are changing at hyper-speed and one needs to keep pace.
- Ensures organization is building long-term bench strength for all roles: This is truly a strategic contribution. A leader will invest part of the development monies and efforts for a longer term agenda. This longer term agenda comes from business strategy blue-print as well as the way business environment is shaping-up. For example, an organization can invest in moving people for cross-country assignments to build bench-strength of leaders who can manage globalization.
- Funds organizational learning initiatives and resources: Any serious development effort will need a long-term commitment of funds, which does not get significantly impacted by wall-street results. A leader will be carrying a conviction and also a compelling pitch to the shareholders for getting those funds.