20 Questions on Leadership Development (Part1)

Here are my answers to 20 questions on Leadership Development.

Have a look see what you think, and let me know whether you agree or disagree, I’d be interested to know.

1. Do you believe emotional intelligence is a skill you can develop in others?

Yes, i believe it can be developed, but how much depends on how much emotional intelligence you have to start with. Empathy can be improved, but if you have very little to start with don’t expect miracles.

2. Do you agree that of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable? – and one of the least understood

It’s certainly an important skill, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most important. Certainly there are many examples of Leaders who failed because they didn’t listen to good advice.

I also think there are many examples of Leaders that don’tlisten, and I don’t think this comes from a lack of understanding, just some of the personality types who are attracted to leadership, e.g. drivers, who don’t do listening

3. Should leaders take action to create a “happy” environment for their people?

Absolutely, happy people are productive people and productive people are happy people. This creates an engaging environment which people look forward to and inspires them to get involved.

4. How do you get leaders to realise that they need to develop further?

Most leaders know that leadership is a journey, not a destination and that if we are not learning we are stagnating. I think open discussion and examples of other great leaders who never stopped learning is one way to help get the message across.

5. Should “high potential” employees know of their status?

As a good feedback culture is always recommended, then the answer to this question has to be yes. However we need to be careful how we do this, as we can raise peoples expectations to unrealistic levels, which can then bedetrimental to their development. I have known cases where people, once they knew how highly they were rated, sat back and waited for things to come to them rather than going out and getting them.

6. What are the workplacebehavioursyou have observed that have the most negative impact onorganisationalsuccess?

Selfishness and dishonesty. Selfishness in the case where people are more interested in their own success, even to the detriment of the organisation, and dishonesty which leads to a lack of trust, or lying about performance results.

7. What have you found is the biggest hurdle to getting Succession Planning implemented?

It’s never seen as critical until it’s actually needed. Also, I think this depends on what you mean, are you talking about developing a talent pipeline or ensuring specific skills are available, so that there is no area where we have only one expert. In my opinion, the best way to handle Succession Planning is to ensure that you have a strong talent pipeline. We need to be like top football teams, we need to haveacademieswhere we develop our high potentials, to ensure that they are ready to step in when needed.

8. How often should Talent Review meetings occur?

This is a tough question, I have worked in a couple of companies where these were annual events, but in many cases, it was seen as a chore, or it was a process where we ranked people against each other, and then it was used fixed assessment which couldn’t change until the next review.

I think annual is a good idea in order to get these started, and also to provide a history. But I also think organisations need to mature to a better model.

In football, players are assessed at the end of each game, to see whether their performance was in line with expectations, and if not corrective actions are put in place, additional training or rest. Also, at the end of the season there is an annualreview to assess the strength of the squad. As we all want to look to develop High Performing Organisations with Winning Culture, then why not adopt a similar approach.

Regular reviews after major projects with an annual end of season review, this will allow us to take the necessary actions when needed rather than wait until the end of the seasons to make some important needed changes.

9. Should Talent Profiles (internal resumes) include a photograph of each employee?

The only reason for not doing so would be if this would lead to discrimination.

10. Can you teach old dogs new tricks?

Absolutely. You can teach practically anything to anyone who is willing to learn. It’s a lack of willingness that inhibits learning and that’s not just dependent upon age.


Gordon has worked in Transformational Leadership roles for over 20 years, running $100m+ programs, leading $200m+ Global Operations Departments, and implementing large complex Organisational Change programs for Fortune 100 companies. Gordon is an Inspiring Leader who not only sees the big picture, can communicate a vision, but who also rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty, which has helped him build highly motivated teams wherever he has worked. Now Gordon is the CEO and Founder of L...

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