needed to manage teams and others effectively. And
yet,when I consider the qualities leaders must also
possess to navigate modern-day complexities with
grace and ease—what emerges top of mind includes
being self-aware, mature, and purpose-driven…
Hmm, is it even possible to increase our capacity in
these ways programmatically? I am not only confident that we can, I believe we must in order to keep
up with the growing demands of leadership.
So, what exactly does this look like as applied to
program development, you might ask? The bottom
line is this: Preparing leaders to strengthen their inner world, and not just their visible outer skills, is
what differentiates the truly best leadership development programs from
the rest of the pack.
Giving leaders the
tools to sharpen their
internal guides enables
them to traverse the
egoic land mines that
get in the way when it
matters most… as business pressure and stress
Put another way,
equipping leaders with
the abliity to discern
what they are thinking
and believing about their situation and the individuals involved in it, especially in the thick of the moment—and then deliberately choosing their response
instead of merely reacting—is directly correlated to
their effectiveness as leaders.
Given this perspective, the best leadership development programs extend beyond showing leaders
and teams how to “do” something new or different.
They also teach them to investigate within, recognize the beliefs that hold them back, and learn to
shift and move beyond them. This is leadership development at its finest.
To illustrate: Take the ubiquitous skill of deliver-
ing feedback. Most of us would agree that the abil-
ity to give direct feedback is integral to improving
performance. Without clear expectations and quality
feedback, it’s hard to imagine a workforce evolving
in just the way it needs to for an organization to suc-
ceed. At the same time, why is it that a person can
receive the exact same feedback from two separate
people—or even the same person on another day—
and have it land quite differently?
This is because at its core, skillful feedback conversations are not based on rote delivery. They require self-awareness, internal clarity, authenticity,
and courage, which are generally not taught in traditional training programs. An extraordinary feedback
dialogue requires reading the situation, exploring and
understanding where the other person is coming from
in this moment, and engaging with profound open-ness in a two-way dialogue.
Preparing leaders for far
more than technical managerial skills is no longer a
nice-to-have to compete in
today’s world—it’s a hands-down must. And we know
that the most effective leaders are clear, self-aware, and
committed to purpose.
This isn’t by accident—
they consciously work on
their “way of being” as
much, if not more than
building new knowledge
stores. So if it’s possible to
include and integrate this dynamic form of development in leadership programs, why not do so? The most
effective programs support leaders in gaining self-leadership and mastery, which in turn propels them to
better serve and lead others.
Monica Chi is a Managing Partner at The Trium Group and
head of the leadership development practice. Over the
past two decades, Monica has partnered with teams in
the throes of business transformation to solve complex
problems and lead effectively. Known for being insightful about organizational systems, Monica’s craft includes
deep listening and working with leaders to catalyze new
thinking and behaviors. Post 9/11, Chi joined the Federal
Bureau of Investigation as Special Assistant to the Director, responsible for designing and leading a diverse array
of organizational transformation, strategy and leadership
PREPARING LEADERS TO
STRENGTHEN THEIR INNER
WORLD, AND NOT JUST THEIR
VISIBLE OUTER SKILLS, IS
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES THE
BEST LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FROM THE
REST OF THE PACK.