Developing High Performance Leaders
Developing leadership capabilities among the ranks of senior executives and mid-tier managers is essential for the future growth and success of organizations, as these Guttman clients discovered:
As a member of a team of leaders, every player, on every great team, needs the same degree of proficiency in leadership skills, including the ability to influence others. It’s a lesson that David Waldock, senior vice president of sales for L’Oréal Paris, learned as he moved his team along the horizontal playing field. “When we began moving toward the high-performance model,” says Waldock, “we assumed too much. We thought people would get it and start using the leadership skills after a couple of formal sessions. What we didn’t account for was that many members of our top team in Sales had been promoted because they had excellent technical and executional skills, but they were quite junior in the sense that they had less practice in leadership positions. After the alignment, we gave them as much additional exposure to and practice with the skills as time permitted.”
Was the effort worth it? “It was invaluable,” concludes Waldock. “I’m not sure we would be functioning well today if we hadn’t made the commitment we did. We have expanded our sales activities and brand initiatives. And we’ve done it without increasing headcount. Instead, we have learned to be much more efficient and much clearer in our communication. We get to conclusions much faster. We are no longer a team just on paper, working independently. We have a real group dynamic now, and it’s a good one.”
A major pharmaceutical organization
When a senior research executive was promoted to executive vice president of a major pharmaceutical organization, he realized that he needed to become more of a “player-centered leader.” In individual coaching sessions, a Guttman consultant provided him with the capabilities needed to vary his leadership behavior—directing, coaching, collaborating, or empowering—in response to the individual needs of each member of his team. At the end of the coaching, he asked us to impart the same capabilities to his team, so that they could do the same with their direct reports.
We conducted a one-day “Developing High-Performance Leaders” program for the team, in which they learned how to assess the skill and engagement levels of their reports and how to structure their interactions accordingly. With their new-found skills, the team members were able to not only develop their own direct reports, but, as a group, now had a basis and a common language for assessing the organization’s overall bench strength.