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Get Into The Habit Of Training Your Leaders

In his book, The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey tells of his experiences with two organizations with misaligned reward systems. Each company stressed the importance of teamwork to their employees, but both had reward systems that favored individual accomplishments. Sell the most, win a fantastic trip. "Why," asked one chief executive, "won't they cooperate?" Only after Covey pointed out the folly of their systems did teamwork flourish.

Were these CEOs bad managers? Or, more specifically, were they incompetent? Indeed, as Covey points out in his book, competency was an issue:
They had the character, even an abundance mentality; they just didn't have the mind-set or skill-set to create aligned compensation systems; they didn't have complete information systems...But they grasped the concept right away. Again, their problem wasn't character; their problem was competency. They had never learned the skill, and they'd been caught in a scarcity minded, traditional, duplicitous system that would remain duplicitous until they acquired the skills.
Leadership incompetence plagues countless organizations. People within companies tend to advance beyond their competence levels, living out the familiar Peter Principle introduced by sociologist Laurence Johnston Peter. It's especially true with leaders. Companies promote people into leadership because of their skills in other areas. You're a good salesperson, so we're making you the sales manager. But then those companies fail to teach the new manager the leadership skills necessary to succeed.

Had the leaders in Covey's examples not benefited from his outsider perspective, it's likely both would still be struggling with how to build teamwork. Therefore, training your leaders is critically important.

Does your leaders take time? Yes. Does it cost money? Of course it does. Can it wait until next quarter, when your numbers might look a little better? That's your call; but don't count on better results later unless you train your leaders now.
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