It is easy to make the mistake of treating everyone in your leadership development program the same, yet that can be a mistake that undermines everything you are trying to gain in making your organization exceptional. While it is essential to have shared foundational knowledge that links to your company culture, mission, vision, and values; it is also important to provide development opportunities matched to the level of responsibility, decision-making purview, and prior leadership experience of the participants. Thinking back on the concept of Situational Leadership it is important to adjust your management style to the abilities and readiness of the employee. You would not treat a brand new employee with no experience in the key competencies of a job exactly the same as you would treat a seasoned expert in a position. If that happened either the new employee would be left floundering without enough direction, or the seasoned expert would feel micro-managed.
The same concept applies in designing a leadership development program that is uniquely suited to your organization. Leaders at different organizational levels need to have a shared understanding of the purpose and expectations of the leadership development programs, and there will be the same focus on the company’s key leadership competencies; however, proficiency and emphasis is necessarily very different for first-level supervisors, mid-level managers, directors, and executives. Depending on organizational size and complexity, many organizations will have 3-5 distinctly different levels delineated by decision-making authority and organizational responsibilities and impact.
When possible, creating unique learning and development courses, experiences, or opportunities for each organizational level is ideal. Sometimes, a similar course or workshop is developed, yet the delivery methods and depth of discussion will be adapted to match the audience members – in this case the leaders at each particular level.