A Strong Leader Development Philosophy

Leader development to strengthen your team

Regardless of the exact service we offer clients, our leader development philosophy shapes the programming and expertise we provide teams. Dr. Sarah Skidmore’s leader development philosophy is based on years of academic research and professional experience.

Too frequently in organizations, the people (the very human capital of the organization) are the last to be considered – and forget empowered… Often organizations make decisions (strategies, tools, deadlines, etc.) in a vacuum based on historic financial statements or the opinions of the highest-ranking manager without concern or foresight as to how their decisions will impact their teams (their people).

Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solutions (2020)

The Stronger People Leaders philosophy supports People Leaders in tackling the real-world challenges of poor leadership & disengaged employees, employee retention issues, poor employee-manager relationships, and lack of employee engagement. See the below summaries adapted from Dr. Sarah’s leader development workbook. Contact info@skidmore-consulting.com for written permission if you are interested in referencing or using this philosophy in any format.

Strengthening the thinking of a people leader

As we develop leaders within our team and organization, it is critical to strengthen the thinking of individuals. The Stronger People Leaders philosophy includes four key areas of thinking:

The Flourishing Perspective

The Flourishing Perspective is about the People Leader maintaining a viewpoint that is oriented toward growth and potential. Clinging to principles of the positive psychology movement, a People Leader embraces a mindset that allows for progress and evolution as opposed to a fixation on limitations.

With this focus on growth, a People Leader understands that their current actions influence their future potential. The Flourishing Perspective recognizes the importance of both internal and external impacts. Internal flourishing speaks to advances of the individual but also their team and organization. External flourishing speaks to the positive impact their work offers their community, society, and the world at large.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

A Strengths-based Understanding

A Strengths-Based Understanding recognizes that all people have a unique set of strengths. Ultimately, a People Leader focuses their energy and the energy of their team toward growing their areas of strength opposed to concentrating on their weaknesses.

By being aware of their personal strengths as well as the strengths of a team, a People Leader is better equipped to thrive. A People Leader who understands strengths calls for an inclusive culture and embraces the strengths composition of their team.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

The Importance of Awareness

The Importance of Awareness is invaluable as a People Leader develops themself and their teams. In addition to their strengths, a People Leader embraces other aspects of social identity including an individual’s personal values, passions, worldview, ethical style, and generation. The complexity of these topics illustrates the richness of life. By collectively building awareness for the richness of a team, a People Leader brings real impact.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

A Systematic Approach

A Systematic Approach is intentional and purposeful. Using this approach, a People Leader recognizes how a context impacts culture and people development. A People Leader purposefully assesses and reassesses the internal and external systems impacting their team.

Further, they understand the complexity of both visible and invisible components within a system. A People Leader leverages tools and resources to help a team and organization thrive through collaborative and iterative work.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

embodying the roles of a people leader

In addition to developing the thinking of a people leader, it is essential that our people leaders understand the important roles they hold within their context. Below are six roles essential to becoming a Stronger People Leader:

Be a Forever Learner

A Forever Learner conveys a spirit of learning and brings a mindset of inquiry. Leveraging tools such as potential questions, purpose-driven inquiry, the SOAR Analysis, and appreciative inquiry, a Forever Learner guides their team in learning endeavors. A Forever Learner embraces ways to incorporate active learning, adult learning theory, and a culture of learning to encourage team members to become Forever Learners.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

Be a People Develeper

A People Developer sees the complex and vital connection of strengths, development, planning, and growth. A People Developer understands the strategic value of strengthening individuals to accompany the organization’s strategic aspirations.

Further, a People Developer embraces an inclusive approach to developing all individuals on a team – not just the high-performers. By democratizing development throughout the entire team, a People Developer recognizes and affirms the value that each individual brings.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

Be a Values Guardian

A Values Guardian embraces ethical leadership while understanding that values impact work. A Values Guardian is aware of the overt way in which worldviews, values, and ethics drive the decisions of individuals and organizations.

Further, a Values Guardian recognizes the importance of alignment between an individual’s personal values and the shared values of a team and organization. Practically speaking, a Values Guardian understands how values impact critical areas of work.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

Be a Futures-Minded Innovator

In this role, a People Leader orients their teams and organization toward the concept of futures. A People Leader leverages future-minded techniques as they cultivate innovation within their context. A Futures-Minded Innovator embraces the idea that there are many possible futures in contrast to a predetermined linear progression. A Futures-Minded Innovator leverages techniques and practices that allow their teams to cultivate innovative and creative futures for the organization.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

Be a Strategic Thinker

A Strategic Thinker leverages strategic thinking, understands strategy creation, acknowledges key elements of strategy, and recognizes influences on strategy. In the most basic form, the strategy process includes development, implementation, and optimization.

A Strategic Thinker recognizes that key elements of strategy include values alignment, a shared vision, and the overall impact of the initiative. Important influences on strategy are people, technology, and collaboration among a team. A People Leader recognizes the role of a Strategic Thinker is essential to their work.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

Be a Culture Creator

A Culture Creator nurtures an inclusive and positive culture for their team and organization. A Culture Creator assesses the culture and recognizes when cultural transformation is beneficial.

As teams continue to exist and operate within a global framework, a Culture Creator realizes that cultural agility is not limited to international businesses but is necessary in every 21st century organization.

Source: Stronger People Leaders: A Leader Development Workbook Solution

would your team benefit from stronger people leaders?