culture at workculture changeleadership development Top 7 Leadership Tips to Transform Culture

March 17, 2021by makewellg0

 Top 7 Leadership Tips to Transform Culture


There are a number of methods currently used by organisations to develop leaders and create amazing cultures? Assessment and development centres, Myres Briggs and other personality testing, 360 feedback. Are they fit for purpose? Will these methods be sufficient to lead us into a new culture post covid?

Challenges with leadership models and traditional approaches to leadership development ……

In 2016 I delivered a talk at the HR Network conference about driving change whilst building engagement. The talk was discussing the successes and learnings from my time at Heathrow Support Centre leading the project for the Sunday Times Best Companies award.

There was one thing that bothered me that had not been resolved. We had engaged with a reputable consultancy to design and deliver bespoke development for our leadership/management team.

We used a tried and tested method of delivery – assessment/development centre and assessed the leader’s competency against pre-determined behaviours. This is a common method in recruitment and development centres for many businesses.

There was one problem.

When we received The Sunday Times leadership data (the scores rated by the employees) it was in direct conflict with the data from our development centre.

So, a leader could come through an assessment/development centre with a top score (talk the talk) but their team rate them exceptionally poorly.

Incidentally, there were a couple of managers who performed poorly in the development centre who came with superb results from their team (they were walking the walk).

I was honest when I spoke at the conference – the old way of developing leaders is dying.

Current thinking …..

Dave Ulrich who was the thought leader behind the introduction of the HR business partner / Shared Service Centres, has offered his thoughts recently on the future of leadership post Covid.

He believes that we are moving to a leadership style that focuses on the person, on the individual, through empathic learning.

“Employee experience has become a critical element of the work experience as employees believe (find meaning), become (learn and grow), and belong (connect with others). Employee experience is a lead indicator of customer experience and investor confidence.

Personalization at work then means that while different, everyone has something to offer to help the collective organisation or community become more than the individual parts. That offering may be a perspective, skill, or experience. Leaders who appreciate diversity and yet establish unity create adaptive, innovative, and agile organisations.”

Some personal reflections

1. Time to re-think leadership. The role itself and how to develop.
2. Traditional approaches to leadership development are dead – within large organisations and certainly for smaller/medium sized businesses.
3. Assessment and development centres measure external behaviours and are not a reflection on how successful a manager or leader will be.
4. The true measure of success of a manager or leader should be based on feedback from the employee.
5. Leadership capability and talent is often over-looked because of a lack of confidence.
6. The shift, in my opinion, which is starting to be articulated by HR thought leaders is a move from doing to being.
7. HR is often the observer, reporting back trends rather than identifying and being at the forefront/alongside business growth/change and this needs to shift for there to be a longer term need for the profession.

Despite my realisations about the approaches to leadership development, we were able to achieve significant growth in the areas of manager and leadership development.

My own preference for the leadership team was to coach one to one during the changes and transitions, a simple approach.

Focusing on the individual like Dave Ulrich suggests is emerging now.

Hiring and developing for attitude is not enough.  Hire and develop managers and leaders that are prepared to work on themselves as individuals and to guide others to do the same.

Those who will walk the walk and not talk the talk.

This is how you lead to transform culture.


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