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Leadership Initiatives for HR Managers: Revving Up During Down Times

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Note. Our last blog invited you to be on the lookout for Part 2 of the RWHRMA talk, which addresses how HR team players can create buy-in once they have decided which of the 40 initiatives (of which 10 were presented last week) they wish to introduce in their quest to make HR a strategic partner to the business.  If you would like to receive all 40 low-cost and no-cost initiatives, email [email protected].

Even if HR team players have all the aforementioned tips well versed and can articulate well these suggestions, without the edge of inspirational leadership built into their personalities (their delivery systems), they will not be able to create the degree of buy-in these leadership initiatives should demand.  Best practices in leadership development can make the difference.

Have you ever made a suggestion at a staff meeting only to receive little or no acknowledgment, and minutes later discover someone else saying the same only to receive the recognition that rightfully belonged to you? That’s a leadership issue, and self-awareness/emotional intelligence leadership training can bring out the authenticity of who you are at your central core, which is always laced with confidence and credibility. You may know you’re brighter than certain others  around you who seem to exude a credibility to which people tend to be more responsive.  Even the Wall Street Journal offered an article suggesting that high intelligence can interfere with effective leadership.  So, if you want to know what this is all about, and if you are serious about life-changing leadership, there is no better leadership training than one steeped in self-awareness and emotional intelligence. People who have a pervasive and far-reaching influence on other company players represent your best investment in leadership training. Keep reading for best practices for your ROI once you decide to invest in your future by investing in either yourself or those you would send for state-of-the-art leadership development.

When you research leadership training organizations, be sure to inquire about the size of the group and the degree of one-on-one attention each member receives.  An important must-have is a post-workshop accountability process that should last at least a month, given research is clear that it takes between 21-30 days to jell a new behavior. Also, ask pointed questions regarding the nature of the feedback process when inquiring into leadership training organizations, expecting full assurance that the candidate for training will return responding to others’ perceptions of what works and doesn’t work in their communication style and patterns. You have the right to ask exactly what processes are used to drive the feedback to a new behavioral pattern that others will find inspirational.

Dr. Latty-Mann further shared with the RWHRMA (Raleigh-Wake Human Resources Managers Association) group a brief overview of their permanent positive change model as background to how full human potential gets unleashed. This highly psychologically driven process includes the importance of identifying beliefs and programs in one’s unawareness that act as saboteurs to one’s otherwise good intentions. There are certain compensatory behaviors people engage in – predictably – in response to a perceived or real threat (for example, when someone says something like, “Your project seems to be moving a bit slowly, and I don’t think you’re positioned to get the results you said you would”). Discovering these patterns of defensive, compensatory behaviors is key to identifying, unlocking and freeing the subconscious saboteurs to highly effective leadership. Once the candidate experiences this kind of intensive leadership training,  there now exists a built-in incentive to stay the course indefinitely. You should expect a program of this nature to be tuition-guaranteed. There are very few people who are not good candidates for this kind of training; do not hesitate to ask.  You should also be bold in asking to speak to graduates about their experience in the program of interest. This is an investment, and it is your right to query to your own level of satisfaction.

Let’s say you are at the point where you must create buy-in from key decision makers to fund this kind of training. What makes for a compelling argument?

You as human resource leaders must make the most of limited training and professional development resources?  Rather than allow key decision makers to ask ‘can we afford it,” have them thinking in terms of “Can we afford not to?” Share with them the 2009 rankings from Chief Executive magazine how 3M jumped from 15th place in 2008 to 1st place in 2009 due to CEO George Buckley’s emphasis on leadership training. When asked, “In this economy, can companies afford the cost of leadership development?” Buckley replied, “Years ago, when I worked at Brunswick, I was asked, ‘George, it’s a tough time right now. Should we be spending money on training? What if these people leave the company?’ My answer was, ‘What if we don’t, and they stay’?”…”a leader is about inspiration more than anything else.”  In this economy, you need your managers leading with inspiration, not fear, not threat. Buckley ends his interview with USA Today saying “You’re unlikely to do that well if you back off on training and leadership development. Having once built respect, you build  trust. Howsoever hokey it sounds, it works.”

You as HR need a compelling argument for leadership training funds when you are appealing to your key decision makers. If you are interested in the statistics shared at RWHRMA (October 20, 2009) from CNN Money, SHRM and Gallup’s Management Journal’s Employee Engagement Index, write [email protected]. An example of SHRM’s findings includes “Only 15% of an employee’s career success is the result of expertise. 85% is the result of interpersonal skills,” the latter of which is the business of leadership development.

Finally, visit testimonials across several leadership training websites. You should be able to get a feel for your ROI. Are these verbatim testimonials, whereby each word comes from the graduate himself or herself? Are they signature testimonials, whereby you can see the name, title and organization?   Are they longitudinal testimonials, where you can tell many of them are reflecting on the gains across several years? Are they comprehensive, whereby the graduates are reporting a better home life as well as work life? If the reported changes are the result of a highly psychologically driven process, then the change should be pervasive in a person’s life, impacting both positively and deeply both work and home – after all, wherever you go, there you are! Experiencing a social knowingness at any given time or place is the essence of authentic leadership. Rather than putting all that energy into acting like a leader, you simply experience yourself as one, all because you are now one with yourself.