Statistics show that 40% of people are unaffected by leadership development. That means that 60% of the people in an organization are carrying the additional load.
The promise of employee engagement, increase in productivity, and improvement in customer service are partially unfulfilled by the statistical outcomes of leadership development.
The question remains: how to turn around the 40% of non-responders (often those who need it most) and make leadership development more effective?
1. Change is incremental - There is a predominant reason most people fail to change when encouraged to do so with leadership development. They do not make the personal decision to change. In turn, management does a mediocre job of listening to the non-responders and identifying their objections. Thus, the non-responders fail to internalize key increments of the change process. The personal behavior change process is as follows: the pre-contemplation of change, contemplation of change, preparation/experimentation, action, sustainment, and coping with setbacks. Breakdown at any point in the process would derail the success of lasting change. Considering that setbacks can be discouraging, ongoing coaching is necessary to support the behavior change for the employees.
2. Empathy is key - How can management be more tuned into leadership development? The most powerful skill is empathy. Global training giant Development Dimensions International (DDI) assessed over 15,000 leaders from more than 300 organizations across 20 industries and 18 countries to determine which conversational skills have the highest impact on overall performance. The answer was empathy. Empathy is rated high on the emotional intelligence spectrum and takes leaders from good to great. The ability of a manager to put herself in someone else’s shoes during a conversation or to see things through a different perspective was linked to more effective job performance. For an employee to be listened to and feel like they were being heard is motivating and reinforces the feeling of belonging in the organization.
Therefore, to make leadership development more effective for the 60% who are responsive and the 40% who take time to come around consider the personal behavior change cycle and proceed with empathy.