U.S. companies spend $14 billion every year on leadership development, according to McKinsey & Co., yet many still struggle to find leaders with the capabilities they need to be effective.
Jessica Parisi, CEO of BTS USA, a company that's helped build many thousands of great leaders as a key part of its mission (and an Advantage thought leader partner), sat down with Entrepreneur.com guest writer Brian Hughes to share her thoughts on effective leadership development.
"Too many training initiatives rest on the assumption that leadership will be the same regardless of company culture, strategy or market dynamics," she told Hughes.
"A brilliant leader in one situation may struggle in another. Leadership training must be relentlessly contextual and tie development to real, on-the-job needs, not just theoretical exercises."
With that in mind, Parisi offers these 3 essential leadership tips with real-world examples that can apply to anyone looking to develop their own leadership skills:
- Leaders grow with their business.
Being an effective leader requires more than just changing behaviors. You need to be willing to confront underlying belief systems. Parisi shared a story about a global software company that needed to make a fundamental shift in leadership beliefs before it could build trust and increase employee engagement. They worked with the company to first reset internal expectations and created new accountability systems to support a change in leadership style for 7,500 company leaders.
- Leaders create a context in which everyone succeeds.
"When we are doing strategy, leadership or change work, we operate from a core belief that leadership is relentlessly contextual," she said. Great leaders don't dictate a single path forward, Parisi said. Instead, they frame challenges facing their organization in ways that are "evocative and inspiring," helping all employees to feel personally invested in solving these challenges.
- Leaders serve and empathize.
Parisi attributes much of her professional success to the lessons she learned in her youth. Holding many roles in both student government and sports groups, she developed an early understanding that the foundation of leadership is service. She also credits her father, a prison warden, as a mentor who significantly influenced her approach to power.
To help companies accelerate the development of great leaders, BTS, an Advantage thought leader partner, has created a series of online iLead Challenge™ Simulations.
Sign up for complimentary 30-day access to the Innovative iLead Challenge Simulation, Fostering an Innovation Culture. See if your choices are the most effective ones to lead your team on an innovation journey.
BTS, an Advantage Performance Group thought leader partner, is a global professional services firm headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with some 500 professionals in 33 offices on 6 continents. We focus on the people side of strategy working with leaders at all levels to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions and deliver results.
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