There is a lot of information and articles out there about what makes an effective executive leader and the importance of leadership for organizational excellence. Many come into a leadership role by excelling at their core skills, which often isn’t leadership! In a large law firm, for instance, employees will rise through the ranks by displaying excellence in law practice, however that has little to do with their leadership skills. With little or no training offered to potential leaders, it is often left up their natural ability to lead which can be a bit hit or miss. Let’s first see what literature is out there regarding what makes an effective executive leader:
A research document by Barry Conchie for Gallup Business Journal about defining effective leadership lists some of the following attributes: Visioning, Challenging Experiences, Mentoring and Building a Constituency.
The Harvard Business Review offers the following practices in Peter F. Druker’s 2004 article on what makes an effective executive:
- They asked, “What needs to be done?”
- They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
- They took responsibility for communicating.
- They ran productive meetings.
- They thought and said “we” rather than “I”.
IMD business school offers the following “people mistakes” that leaders make in an article by Professor George Kohrieser: Not taking time to bond with people, being unavailable and inaccessible, not focusing on developing talent, not giving regular feedback about performance, not taking emotions into account, managing conflict ineffectively, and misunderstanding motivation.
In pretty much all the above lists there is one constant: Communication or the failure to communicate effectively.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” James Humes
Once again there are plenty of communication techniques and courses out there, however finding the right fit for you or your company might be challenging. There is one bit of advice we can offer though: If the course you are looking at doesn’t have scenario roleplay as part of its learning modules, it is quite possible a waste of time. That’s not to say that the course in question won’t teach valuable lessons, however communication, like anything, needs practice. Anyone who has played a sport or participated in craft will attest to this. It is one thing to think and discuss something, but the real learning starts when you try to do something.
“One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it-you have no certainty, until you try.” Sophocles
Now roleplay is an often maligned and misunderstood practice, possibly because many have had a negative experience that involved roleplay (for more on this see our other article link to Roleplay in Business – Why It Doesn’t Really Suck). This is where a company like Peers and Players can help. We are experts in delivering communication courses using roleplay as a main tool that makes the experience not only enlightening and educational but very enjoyable as well. And there lies the other key to effective learning: Having fun.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
The other advantage of employing a company like Peers and Players to deliver communication courses for your budding executive leadership candidates, is it’s use of corporate actors to deliver the scenario roleplays. Most often the biggest mistake made using roleplay in training is throwing participants into a roleplay scenario with little or no preparation. Corporate actors (that is, highly trained actors with extensive corporate experience) will be able to demonstrate and lead the roleplay scenarios before slotting participants in. This not only gives participants a chance to try out and perfect new communication techniques, it also makes it a very enjoyable and enlightening learning experience.
So, if you are shopping around to find the most effective communication courses to greatly improve the chances of having an effective executive management team, be sure to take a look at www.peersandplayers.com.