Principle      : Leadership Development is Enabled by Belief

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Reinterpreting Leadership Development

Leadership development is not just about learning new knowledge and tactics. The belief that knowledge and tactics are what is needed largely explains why so many people receive training without developing new skills. This belief is also why leaders read so many books but do not implement what they have read. Training instills beliefs, experience refines beliefs, and feedback informs beliefs. Effective training cannot take place on the surface of a person. It must impact what is on the inside. It must impact beliefs. If our beliefs do not change, we will not implement what we have learned. We may learn that more delegation is necessary, and we may learn how to delegate, but if we continue to believe that no one can complete projects as well as we are able to, our delegation skills will not improve.


Beliefs Influence Behaviour

Leaders delegate effectively when they believe that they can achieve higher level success by doing so. They do not delegate if they believe that people will let them down. Leaders involve others when they believe that securing buy-in is necessary for a result that will advance their goals. They bypass others when they think that involving people will distract them from their objectives or will waste their time. Leaders will often help their fellow leaders if they believe that they will receive help in return. Leaders are more likely to let their teammates fail if they believe that those team mates are not supportive of their personal objectives.


Beliefs Can be Changed

Every person knows and every leader knows that we can change our beliefs. But it is also true that some beliefs are very difficult to change … and that some beliefs may never change. Knowing which is which is part of the art of leading with beliefs. Sometimes new information is all that is required to change our beliefs, such as when a leader learns that involving key stakeholders is more likely to lead to success. Sometimes beliefs change only with a period of experience attempting to implement what we believe works and finding out that it does not.


New Beliefs Bring New Behaviour

It is only when a leader’s beliefs change about what works best in leadership that their behaviour and approach to leading will change. A leader can be told and they can be taught that punishing people for poor performance is not a good leadership tactic. But if they believe that people need to feel fear in order to work to their full potential, their behaviour will not change. A leader can be told and they can be taught that cooperating with other executives and helping them with their objectives is the best thing to do in the long run. However, if they believe that performing better than other executives is their ticket to success, they will not be team players.


New Behaviour Brings New Results

When you believe that treating people respectfully is the right thing to do, your world as a leader begins to change. You begin to receive more respect from others. When you learn to believe that supporting people is the right thing to do, your world changes. You begin to receive more support from others. When you learn to believe that admitting and learning from your mistakes is the right thing to do, your world begins to change. You begin to learn from your mistakes.