Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Developing Leaders

One of the biggest challenges for managers is not only in their own development of leadership, but the development of leadership in those that work with them. One of the best models available to assist managers in this responsibility in the model developed by Dr. Paul Hersey which he called "Situational Leadership." I have been privileged to have met and instructed on Situational Leadership by Dr. Hersey in his offices in Escondido, Ca. Dr. Hersey, in my mind, is one of the "sages" of leadership thought and development.

That is Dr. Hersey in the middle, with me on the right and one of my good friends Jeff Schummer on the left.

There are numerous insights that Situational Leadership provides. To both the new and seasoned manager alike, too numerous for this short blog. The one insight that I continually take away from the Situational Leadership model, is that the leader approaches their decisions, actions and communication, always from the perspective of the needs of the follower, and not from their own perspective.

This is a simple concept, but yet so insightful. Most managers look at the problems from their own perspective and often do not consider the needs of the follower in determining what the manager can do to develop them. I was fortunate to have worked with several managers in my career that not only understood the Situational Leadership Model, but demonstrated it everyday in their decision making and in their coaching and counseling. These were the leaders that had the greatest impact on my development.

Situational Leadership has impacted millions of managers around the globe and yet after 50 years, has as much relevance today as it did in the early 60's when Dr. Hersey developed this cornerstone model of modern leadership thought.

I am preparing for a new training session entitled "Situational Leadership Preview" that I will be delivering to a group of Executives for a new thrift in the month of June. I am constantly in awe of the simplicity yet profound application of this leadership model.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Using Behavioral Styles to Improve Management Abilities

I've long been an advocate of understanding behavioral styles ever since I was first exposed to the basic descriptions of "Colors". Colors is a basic awareness of individual tendencies and preferences. Once I became familiar and certified with the DiSC Personality Types and certified in Myers Briggs Type Indicators I've experienced first-hand how these profiles can improve communication and understanding of the managers role of developing those that work with them.

By far MBTI (Myers/Briggs) is the best of the behavioral styles programs, but my experience is that individuals need to be a student of MBTI to really understand it and apply the 16 different temperaments. That is why I find DiSC to be the best in understanding individual preferences and yet, simple enough that with a limited exposure managers can this understanding to improve communication and development strategies for employees that work with them.

This week I'm conducting another session using the DiSC Behavioral Styles as a foundation for team discovery and a process to improve interpersonal relationships. Individuals are constantly amazed in completing the self assessment how the simple selection of words that best describe, and words that least describe oneself, can provide such insight into personal preferences and strengths.

The one facet of DiSC that I constantly stress was a discussion I had with a good friend, Dr. Dennis Deaton, in that as humans we have the remarkable ability to change our thoughts right in the process of thinking them. As this relates to DiSC we can actually identify our initial reactions based upon our natural preferences, yet before we take action, we can analyze these thoughts/reactions and chose if these are the best reactions to the situation at hand.

For managers this is critical, if we ever hope to develop the skill to help others succeed through developing their own strengths and learning to adapt to their weaknesses. DiSC along with our ability to analyze our own thoughts provides the framework for good decision making and communication.