WOW Factor #2 – Improving leadership behaviors

WOW Factor #2 – Improving leadership behaviors

This is the second post in a three-part series about the impact of Team Advantage from our recent research project.

Question: When was the last time your company measured leadership competencies and behaviors?

I have often wondered who decides that these behaviors are the right drivers for leadership. We’ve found that large management consultancies determine what leadership capabilities could or should be, and we have also found that from one company to another, there is very little variation. Companies want leaders to be customer centric, to drive change, demonstrate business acumen, communicate well, collaborate with peers and others, build trust, continuously improve individually and, as a sustainability strategy for the company, drive cultural norms, and build teams. Some variations of these are at the top of every company’s list.

These competencies (and/or behaviors) are regularly adopted, printed in nice brochures, occasionally highlighted in a leadership meeting and about 18 months later, refined or replaced by the latest consultant’s new approach to leadership development. We have seen as many as 68 different leadership competencies outlined for leaders to hone and develop in others. And that is just crazy. Paring down to six top qualities gives leaders a sense of confidence that they can groom themselves and others to be empowered to take action, understand what they can control and align with a strategy for development.

Bottom line, “Measuring the improvement in leadership capabilities is possible with the Team Advantage process.”

During the Team Advantage process, we mentored a group of 28 change agents to deliver the team coaching process. The WOW factors from the research have been summarized in three key areas of impact:

  1. Employee engagement increased (see blog post #1 in this series)
  2. Seven of 12 leadership behaviors improved (this post)
  3. All improvements in engagement were sustainable (next post)

This is what we learned about the impact area – or WOW Factor #2!

2) Team Advantage participants demonstrated behavior improvement in 7 out of 12 behaviors and believed they improved in all Team Advantage behaviors.

We looked at 12 behaviors: six from the client (flexible thinking, customer focus, driving change, developing people, building relationships and continuous improvement) and six from Team Advantage (self-awareness, communication, ownership attitude, collaboration, comfort in chaos and interdependency). We measured actual behavior change by asking questions that found out how participants behaved or thought in certain circumstances. The improvements we demonstrated in the research showed that seven areas significantly improved: flexible thinking, customer focus, driving change, developing people, building relationships, communications and interdependency. In other words, participants were more likely to act and think in ways that positively demonstrated these seven behaviors after they had gone through the Team Advantage experience than before. For the remaining five behaviors, none declined; they simply did not demonstrate a statistically significant improvement.

Besides determining the changes in behaviors by noting changes in the way participants said they acted and thought, we also asked participants to rate themselves on the six Team Advantage behaviors. These self-reported ratings increased for all six Team Advantage behaviors, indicating that participants believed they personally improved in all of these areas. In this case, these improvements are not so much an actual improvement in behaviors as in self-confidence, but that is an improvement in itself, particularly important for a sales force.

What we learned as coaches is this – a team really has to go through a full process of creating something that they own – in our process, the Team Advantage game “extraordinary goal” – storming through creative conflict, norming procedures, performing together so they can change their stories and transforming individually and collectively, ultimately taking ownership for the performance of the entire team.

We would appreciate knowing more about how you see leadership competencies being developed and how you think confidence can best be built in emerging talent and restored or honed in more senior leaders. What are the best leadership processes you have used or witnessed?

Watch this blog site for the next post in this series… WOW Factor #3! Or check out our previous post about WOW Factor #1.

With Lynn Hays of Haysmar Research

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