“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
~ Colin Powell
My nephew, Geoff Germaine, is headed to the Army’s LDAC (Leadership Development and Assessment Course) today. And I am so proud of him!
From the time he was little he wanted to be in the military. When he was three I bought him a NASA flight suit and he wouldn’t take it off! His grandfather was in the Navy and great-grandfather was in the Army during WWII.
The Army is intentional about training up leaders in a way that instills pride, confidence, and competence. LDAC is a concentrated 29 days and it focuses on experiential learning, not simply theoretical. It got me thinking about the leadership training we provide our leaders in the corporate world.
I work primarily with leaders in technology, engineering, those “left-brained” focused industries. And what I have found is that in school and on the job they are given exponential opportunities to learn how to be technically proficient – with minimal, if any, training to be a leader.
So my job has been to come in and help these technically-proficient managers understand what it means to be a leader:
- To move from being an individual contributor to the “go to” person for their team’s dreams and dramas.
- To understand how to expand their emotional intelligence as that is what will help them succeed in management, much more than technical skill will.
- To be able to communicate in a way that is clear, concise, and compelling rather than detail-laden.
- To inspire and influence even when you don’t have the authority.
- To know that a title does not give you power … only your team can do that for you.
And so much more!
I think there are 3 keys to early success for our next generation of leaders.
- Teach the importance of communication.
We are a world of 7 billion people now. As a leader you must be able to communicate, influence, and collaborate effectively. It’s not enough merely being able to learn or know the facts and figures, but it’s understanding how to tell the stories around them that helps a leader’s success.
- Teach understanding of emotional intelligence.
Once you get that first management titles, your emotional intelligence skills must immediately zoom past your technical skills. What does that look like for a leader? Being able to identify and manage your emotions in any given situation. Being able to respond in a way that encourages alignment and collaboration rather than defensive walls being built against you. Understanding your team members’ emotions and influencing them to manage the emotions in a way that is appropriate to the situation. Being able to solve problems using emotions appropriately rather than denying them or letting them take over the process. Seeking facts rather than relying on assumptions, and so much more.
- Create “fail forward” cultures.
In the Army’s LDAC, each candidate is given an opportunity to lead, are then assessed on how they did, and given feedback on how they could have done it better, differently. They practice in safe situations that feel real so that when they are on the battlefield or in the boardroom they know how to lead effectively. Give our new hires an opportunity to practice their leadership in safe “fail forward” (from management guru John Maxwell) situations where they can learn before we need them to step up with confidence and competence.
Several companies I have worked at and now work with focus their leadership training just on those who are already leaders. And that is important – absolutely – to keep honing our leaders. And it is just as important to begin seeking out those who are potential leaders and giving those opportunities to lead before being given the title. We want them to succeed when they become our next wave of leaders. Let us give them the tools and skills now to prepare them for success. It helps them in the future, and it helps them now by being even stronger team members.
Good luck, Geoff. Thank you and with all the men and women in our military for stepping up and protecting our freedom.
For information on leadership, Hiring the Golden Unicorns, Emotional Intelligence & Negotiations, Strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or go to http://www.apexmastery.com/