“If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.”Sir Isaac Newton
Impactful leaders are seen as those who assess their environment, create direction for their organization, get people on board with that direction, and gain the employee’s commitment to execute on that direction. While no two leadership assignments are ever the same, there are leadership frameworks, competencies and behaviors that can be uniquely applied to each leadership situation, regardless of the assignment, organization or industry.
In addition, given the needs of today’s workforce, the responsibility for the creation of a high engagement workplace where employees possess positive psychological capital, falls squarely on the shoulders of leadership . We have found that significant competitive advantages exist for an organization when their leaders are developed to become adept at demonstrating non-replicable leadership behaviors, unique to their organization’s culture and the leader’s specific assignment.
The Mayhew Group provides leadership assessment, experiential development and follow up to ensure that each client organization’s leadership needs match their strategic direction and imperatives, including preparing individuals for future opportunities within the organization.
Clients have enlisted our help in developing their leaders when they need to:
- Ensure that their leaders have the attitudes, skills and behaviors necessary to lead the way successfully through significant change, including new strategic directions, organizational growth and potential challenges.
- Develop leadership teams by building upon and leveraging their individual and collective strengths.
- Align managers at all levels to the competencies needed to maintain and build the organization.
- Develop technical experts into effective leaders.
- Develop those who are new to leadership assignments.
- Integrate leaders brought in from outside the organization so that they can move up the experience curve quickly.
“Strangers in a new culture see only what they know.”-Unknown
Distance (virtual) leadership development
Leading employees from a distance is now more likely to be part of a leader’s role. Due to global outsourcing, border-less knowledge workers, and advancements in communication technologies it is now probable that those whom you need to lead and influence will reside in a different location, often many time zones away. If you add the fact that these co-workers and subcontractors may come from different cultural backgrounds, then the challenges of predictably getting results are magnified.
These challenges present themselves through the following questions:. How can you manage your employees’ performance when you can’t see what they are doing? How can you foster teamwork when your team can’t spend time together? How do you know when working remotely just isn’t working out?
The key to successful distance leadership is to apply the skills and practices that make for good in-person leadership — but to apply them with even more diligence and rigor. We have discovered that distance leadership can be accomplished successfully when the leader puts more emphasis on the following areas:
1. Building and Maintaining Relationships – through trust and sincere concern for employee wellbeing and morale.
2. Freedom to Self-manage – through empowerment, delegation and the wise use of control.
3. Maximizing Team Performance – through clarity of purpose, clear roles and responsibilities, and common work processes.
4. Communication – through the right use of technology combined with face-to-face visits.
5. Managing Individual Performance – through establishment of specific goals, use of trusted information systems, regular feedback and aligned rewards.
6. Developing Potential – through challenging assignments and targeted development programs.
7. Time Management – through efficient meetings and work-life balance that match cultural expectations.
Clients enlist our help in developing their distance leaders when they need to:
Build and maintain teams that span time zones and cultures.
Develop leaders to manage employees who are not co-located..
Resolve conflicts that arise due to cultural misperceptions or due to clashing realities based on the differing experiences between headquarters and remote locations.
Improve under-performing work groups.
Develop staff to move into distance leadership roles.
Examples of client assignments
A division of a major entertainment and media company wanted to improve the leadership talent of their executives and middle managers so that they could source leaders to fill positions created by the division’s growth. Time away from work was a precious commodity yet senior management was willing to support a leadership immersion program of short duration. We designed and delivered a 3.5-day leadership development program that used 360-degree feedback, experiential activities, cultural data from the organization, the latest leadership techniques and then supported the participants with 1:1 coaching. The program was repeatedly conducted over five years. Results so far have been promotions and expanded roles among the graduates, and increased leadership bench-strength within the organization.
A global biopharmaceutical company wanted to develop hi-potential scientists and researchers so that they could manage projects and functional groups to increase their ability to develop drug targets. The Mayhew Group acted as lead designers and facilitators of a 12-week program consisting of weekly 4-hour workshops that included leadership assessments, leadership principles and practices, experiential activities and action planning to build both participant’s confidence, knowledge and skills. The result was a group of leaders, some experienced, some new, who were ready and capable of leading complex research projects.
A global chemical company wanted to align their mid-level managers with the company’s newly developed strategy, and provide them with the strategic leadership skills necessary to implement the strategy. We were part of the design and implementation team of the 4-day strategic leadership program. The program was conducted in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Participants were drawn from around the globe for each program to ensure a rich mix of cultural diversity. The program resulted in consistent strategic alignment throughout management, as well as implementation of their business and personal leadership goals. In addition, The Association for Talent Development awarded the program an Excellence in Practice Citation.
After a merger between two U.S. and U.K global pharmaceutical companies, the new organization needed to build the management skills for its U.S. mid-level employees who had direct reports and/or bosses who were based in Europe. Using a research-based distance management model we facilitated a program that combined feedback, knowledge and skill-building to improve their managers’ ability work with their European counterparts.
A major global entertainment company was having difficulty managing and coordinating the work of their European facilities and real estate employees with their east and west coast US colleagues. We conducted an off-site in London, bringing together all of the department’s management team. There were six cultures represented. We focused our work on building cross-cultural understanding, dispelling myths and assumptions about both field and head office work experiences, and created new work relationship agreements that valued the cultural, geographic and time differences of the group.