Leadership development can sound expensive, and also cause frustrated sighs of, “I remember when I sat through that 5 day leadership summit, and I got NOTHING out of it!”.
Here’s my simple model for Leadership Development:
I define Technical Skill as the actual skill set that’s needed to do your job, so that could be accounting, social work, program director, administrative skills, etc. It’s our Technical Skills that we usually focus the most on in regards to training and development, and it’s our successful execution of those skills which gets us promoted into higher leadership positions. For example, you may bring on a new Board Member because of their technical skill and knowledge in law as a lawyer.
But your Technical Skill is only one part of the puzzle. In order to be an effective Leader, your team also needs to develop their Business Knowledge, and their Leadership abilities.
For Business Knowledge, you don’t need to have an MBA, but you do need to know and understand relevant business principles as it come to your position, such as reading a budget and understanding a profit and loss statement so you can make strategic decisions for your program; knowing best practices for how to structure your department for optimal workflow and performance; staying up to date with compliance and technology adoptions in your industry, etc.
Last, but certainly not least, great leaders couple their Technical Skill and Business Knowledge with transformational Leadership skills such as developing and leading teams, dealing with conflict, effective management and supervision, and navigating individual, team and organizational change.
So while we may get promoted into higher and higher levels of leadership because of our Technical Skills, failing to also develop our Business Knowledge and Leadership abilities poses great liabilities and financial risks to us as individuals, and to our organization as a whole.
And this model works within every level of your agency, and for both paid staff and volunteers!
So let’s think about it: Which one of these 3 areas may need a bit more attention and development? What’s one step you can do today to strengthen your Technical Skills, Business Knowledge, and Leadership strategies? How can you help your Team and your agency overall in this regard as well?