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Leadership Development

Emerging Leaders Need Leadership Development Now

urgency of developing emerging leaders

Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

Each time we host The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, our staff and facilitators are struck by how similar leadership challenges can be across diverse industries, throughout all career stages, and for leaders from all over the world.

It can be fascinating and gratifying to hear participants express how thankful they are to finally have a roadmap for their own leadership journey. After the workshop, participants say that they feel like they finally know what to do to be a more effective leader.


A Story of Two FlashPoint Participants

This was emphasized in our recent workshop by James*, a participant in his late 40s. James was sent to California by the HR department of his Midwest company because he had been struggling in his role as a factory manager. He had been with the company for 28 years but was just receiving his first leadership training.

At the end of the workshop he said, “This is great, but I wish I knew this stuff 15 years ago when I started managing.” I imagine it’s distracting to be thinking of all the situations you wish you handled better, if you only had the tools then.  

In contrast, we were also joined by three new leaders from a local technology company who were in their 20s. They all jumped into the curriculum and, on the breaks, talked about how they wish their managers exhibited better leadership. During the workshop they explored ways they could apply this new information to their roles when they got back to the office.

Thankfully, they left with a roadmap from the action-planning activity they did at the end of the second day. These emerging leaders were excited to receive the kind of training that James wished he had learned earlier.


Building a leadership roadmap with the Leadership Practices Inventory®

The cornerstone of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop is the LPI®: Leadership Practices Inventory® 360-degree assessment. This research-proven tool makes the workshop a highly personalized experience by allowing leaders to think about every module in the context of their own skills and areas they want to improve. Throughout the workshop, leaders can examine their leadership behavior reported by feedback from direct reports and others and compare it to a benchmark of exemplary leaders.

With this information, leaders then draw up their own development plan, choosing the behaviors that they want to work on based on their feedback and their learnings from the week. This is the roadmap that every leader deserves.

Unfortunately, most leaders are like James – they receive training at a point that often feels too late. Research in the Harvard Business Review shows that the average age of those who receive leadership training is 42 – about ten years later than the average age of first-time managers.

When reflecting on this, Jim Kouzes, co-author of The Leadership Challenge, recently asked a group of leaders if they would consider going to a doctor before he or she had training. Probably not.

Instead, let’s provide an opportunity for leaders to gain the knowledge and skills they need to lead as successfully as possible as soon as possible. It will make a difference in all of our organizations.


*Name has been changed for privacy

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Terri Updegraff

Terri Updegraff is a former FlashPoint employee and leadership enthustiast.