Leadership Development is frequently treated as a universal remedy, neglecting the nuances that individuals bring. Merely excelling in a role doesn’t automatically translate to leading others effectively. Elevating individuals without tailored training can be counterproductive. The conventional approach of sending them to conferences, recommending books, podcasts, or generic online courses often overlooks their unique skills, strengths, and personality traits that led to their initial success.
This approach is outdated and begs for a transformative shift.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a leader trying to change this. Bob Erickson, retired EVP of US Bank, approached Leadership Vision several years ago to begin working with his teams at US Bank to shift how leaders were developed, grown, and invested in. During that time, we came to know and appreciate Bob for his personalized approach to leadership development. I had the fantastic privilege of chatting with Bob for the podcast, where he shared his philosophy, principles, and experiences, briefly looking into his leadership journey and offering several takeaways for any leader looking to invest in those they lead.
Recruitment and Leadership Development
One of the key topics discussed was the evolution of recruitment and leadership development. Bob shared a real-life recruiting story, where he emphasized the importance of understanding individual motivations and finding common ground, to work with individuals. In an era where generational differences in the workforce pose unique challenges and opportunities, Bob’s insights into bridging these gaps are particularly valuable.
Bob noted that today’s recruitment process focuses on assessing individual skills and understanding the unique contributions each person can bring to the team. He also shared his thoughts on what he would change if he started a leadership development program today, emphasizing the need for a more personalized and individual-centric approach.
…we’re all human and have certain ways that we’re wired. And the key (to leadership) is understanding how we are different. In order for all of us to be successful, we need to figure that out.Bob Erickson, Retired EVP, US Bank
Key Leadership Traits
Leadership, according to Bob, goes beyond execution. It involves understanding oneself and others, fostering effective communication, and promoting collaboration. This approach requires leaders to be vulnerable and open to diverse perspectives, highlighting the need for respect and understanding in leadership.
Bob also delved into the significance of honesty, integrity, and compassion in team members. These qualities, he argued, are fundamental to building robust teams. By identifying and nurturing these traits, leaders can foster a work environment that promotes individual growth and team cohesion.
Understanding the differences between people and the need to listen and learn from one another is crucial in leadership. Bob stressed the importance of valuing diverse opinions, noting how this can lead to compromise and negotiation.
Personalizing Leadership Development
The conversation with Bob Erickson underscored the importance of a more human-centric approach to leadership development. At Leadership Vision, we believe that Leadership Development is about investing in people, empowering them, and recognizing their unique contributions. It is about creating a work environment that encourages growth, collaboration, and respect.
What are Your Takeaways?
Bob Erickson’s insights into leadership development serve as a valuable resource for leaders seeking to create significant changes within their teams and organizations. By understanding leadership dynamics and embracing individual empowerment, leaders can foster a work environment that promotes productivity and builds a lasting legacy.
What are a few key elements that you would include in a leadership development program in your context?
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents.
Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.
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