A leader’s transition from first-time manager to executive leader requires far more than adding to his or her technical skillset. As vital as these competencies are, impactful leadership combines hard skills with an evolving, authentic leadership character. Wilson Learning has worked with multiple organizations that have seen their leadership onboarding derail from the start. They have experienced how absent or haphazard leadership development leads to micromanaging, resentment, and, eventually, new manager burnout.
Tom Roth, COO of Wilson Learning Worldwide and coauthor of Wilson Learning’s latest e-book The Leadership Development Framework, says, “Until new leaders receive effective training beyond technical skills, they will be consumed by the pressures of their new responsibilities and spin into a cycle of micromanaging, alienating those they lead and overworking themselves in the process.”
When an organization makes a commitment to a leader’s holistic development, mindful of technical abilities as well as the cultivation of a broader leadership philosophy and sense of organizational purpose, it builds a framework for sustainable, thriving leadership.
So how does Wilson Learning’s Leadership Development Framework help an organization achieve this? The framework organizes the progression of leadership into three distinct levels: first-, mid-, and executive level. Within these distinctions are the critical hard skillsets—known as Form—necessary for success at each level of leadership. But the framework would be incomplete without matching these skills to the development of an overarching character component—Essence.
Wilson Learning defines Form as what you need to DO as a leader, including the skills and behaviors exhibited by the leader. But to be truly effective, this Form must align with the leader’s Essence, described as the philosophy, beliefs, values, and sense of purpose that guide who the leader wants to BE.
Michael Leimbach, Ph.D., coauthor of The Leadership Development Framework, explains: “The framework uniquely integrates both Essence and Form into our programs, going beyond rote skills and process checklists to learning how to lead with resiliency and character in a way that resonates with those they lead. This integration leads to a more meaningful, sustainable development outcome.”
Leadership is not just about driving results. Effective and lasting leadership development training depends on combining leadership survival skills, growth skills, and strategic skills with a thorough understanding of what it means to be a leader, as well as the courage to learn and apply these behaviors.
“Ultimately, you will not be judged so much by how well you lead, but by how well you are followed,” explains Mr. Roth.