Innovative Leadership Development Techniques for CEOs

Leadership development does not have a finish line. Your leadership journey extends as long as you continue investing time, energy, and resources into learning, growing, and refining your approach. There’s always something new to try—a new skill to implement or style to attempt.

In fact, one of the best leadership lessons I’ve learned over the years is Marshall Goldsmith’s idea that what got you here won’t get you there. He prioritizes continuous leadership development for veteran CEOs, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. With that in mind, I encourage leaders of all levels to develop a growth mindset to lead by example, encourage their teams, and formalize their leadership development program.

Lead by Example with a Growth Mindset

One of the most valuable leadership traits for seasoned and aspiring leaders to possess is a growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck introduced the concept of growth and fixed mindsets in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. People with a growth mindset believe that abilities can be developed and their capacity to learn and solve problems can expand.

If a leader doesn’t have a growth mindset, their team is never going to adopt one either, so I encourage leaders to lead by example by approaching their own abilities with a growth mindset. By prioritizing your own leadership development, you demonstrate to your team that professional development is one of your top priorities. It’s no coincidence that the leaders who continue to better themselves have the strongest teams of leaders behind them.

The best leaders extend a growth mindset toward their team as well. They focus on building a team that’s willing to learn and grow and then help them through that growth. As the individual team members grow, the organization grows.

Encourage Your Team to Grow

Along with leading by example, I advise leaders to encourage their team members by providing them with direction, resources, and opportunities to further their own leadership skills. Too many CEOs expect their employees to take it upon themselves to engage in leadership training and other professional development opportunities. In fact, according to the job search site Zippia, 83 percent of businesses believe it’s important to develop leaders at every level, but only 5 percent successfully do. If you want great leadership at your organization, it’s up to you to develop great leaders—and the options to do so are nearly unlimited:

  • continuing education opportunities
  • mentorship programs
  • online courses and assessments
  • skill development workshops
  • book clubs
  • membership in professional associations
  • networking events
  • conventions and conferences
  • executive coaching programs

These kinds of tools and resources provide tremendous opportunities for your team members to better themselves while reinforcing the learn and grow mindset. Structure your leadership program to provide flexibility and guidance for your employees. With the plethora of online resources available today, it’s both affordable and convenient for organizations to build their own robust leadership development programs.

Formalize the Leadership Development Process

When it comes to leadership development techniques, it’s one thing to talk about them and another thing to act on them. Not only should leaders invest in their organization’s leadership program from a financial perspective, but they also need a structured plan to help their employees retain and apply what they learn. It’s crucial to formalize your organization’s leadership development process.

I encourage leaders to document a formal process to guide their team members in planning how they’re going to grow in their leadership capabilities. Make sure the plan is written out and measurable and include opportunities for feedback. Having a structured plan allows for follow-through. It’s up to leaders to establish a way to cover professional growth in annual reviews as well. Take advantage of the opportunity to discuss leadership strengths and opportunities to improve.

Achieve a High-Performing Team

While the goal of your organization’s innovative leadership development program should be to develop individual leaders, a secondary outcome is that you will set yourself up to achieve a high-performing team. Aim to build a team of motivated individuals who exhibit growth mindsets and present them with opportunities to engage in leadership development within a structured program, and you’ll set your team up for both individual and organizational success.

Questions to Consider

  1. As a leader, do you demonstrate a growth mindset?
  2. Does your organization have a documented process for your team to follow as they expand and grow in their leadership capabilities?
  3. How do you measure your own growth as a leader along with the growth of your team members?

If you’d like to discuss innovative leadership development techniques for your organization, contact me. I would love to help you uncover your own professional development needs and build a formal leadership development program to help you establish a high-performing team for your business.