Critical First, Comprehensive Later

One day when I was still working in a corporate role during the pandemic, I had a rather unique leadership class experience. I was scheduled to facilitate on a certain topic, but hadn’t actually received the training myself. I had planned to at least complete a preparatory review, but since I was covering for multiple unstaffed roles, I couldn’t quite get to it in time. So there I was, ready for a full-day of training, knowing I’d be seeing some of the content myself for the first time.

That’s a real recipe for mediocrity, right?

Thankfully no one threw any tomatoes. It was actually the opposite. When I finished, the leaders expressed their appreciation for the event. One even went so far as to say she’d attended this particular class several times already, but this one was the best one yet.

What did I do that would elicit that type of a response?

The answer came to me right away. I knew what the leaders needed most to be successful in their role. So I made sure to emphasize those aspects of the content and de-emphasized the parts that were merely interesting (but unhelpful). Then I went to extra lengths to highlight the practical ways they could use what they were learning to quickly make an impact in their roles.

As our business operations continue to move to society’s new post-pandemic normal (*knock on wood*), the conversation about effective organizational support continues to evolve. Our teams are busy, tired and in many cases under-staffed. They don’t have time for full service support, whether with leadership development or many other operational aspects. They need support that will make an immediate difference with a low time commitment upfront.

If you’re responsible for providing support for a worn out team, here are three questions to consider:

  • What is the mental and emotional state of the team?
  • What does the team need most right now?
  • How can I support them in a way that is quick, easy and relatively painless – and will make an immediate impact?

Answer those questions well, and you’ll receive high praise.

Those are some of the questions that led me to start Leadership-in-a-Box. We know the need for leadership development is as high as it’s ever been, but leaders need a quick, practical and actionable option. Just recently, an executive team going through our 60 minute Leading Change program exclaimed, “Everyone in our organization could use this one-page worksheet to lead a change project – and it will give us all common language to communicate change expectations!” That’s exactly what we’re shooting for.?

In time, we’ll all be able to address comprehensive needs again. But for now, let’s be really good at addressing the critical ones!

Nathan Magnuson is an executive leadership consultant, speaker and author of the books Stand Out! and Ignite Your Leadership Expertise. Click to see the exciting ways Nathan is helping organizations and teams become more effective with Leadership-in-a-Box.