The future of leadership

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[Written by Steve Van Remortel on July 29, 2020]


“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” – Harvey Firestone

In the above quote, Harvey Firestone does not say the development of people “at work,” he says the development of people.

In simple terms, developing the whole person.

Why should you develop the whole person?

The future of talent development is developing the total person, and the organizations that recognize this will experience the greatest level of success in the coming year.

High-performance organizations realize that we all go through challenges in life, and the way to optimize each team member’s performance and the organization is for the company to provide professional and personal development. They understand that you hire the entire person, so why would you not develop the whole person?

Developing the total person builds a culture that wraps our arms around a team member going through a life challenge versus pushing them away to deal with it themselves.

Let’s face it: in today’s interconnected world, the challenges we face outside of work impact our performance at work. When things are good at work, they go better at home and vice versa.

It is almost impossible to separate work from home due to life-changing innovations like cell phones and the internet. And the fact that many of us are working from home during the pandemic connects our work and home life even more.

The highest-performing employees are often those who seek development in all areas of their life. They recognize that struggles outside of work will impact their performance if they don’t deal with their issues and resolve them.

In fact, in the hundreds of leadership development plans I have been involved in, a good portion of the plan focuses on personal development. For example, how to unpack an issue from your past or how to resolve a strained relationship.

There is a misconception that people don’t want to talk about issues affecting them outside of work. I have seen just the opposite. Employees often welcome their employer’s help, whether in their professional world or their personal lives.

There is even an expectation from the younger generation entering the workforce that companies will provide support beyond their job-related development. If they don’t find that holistic support, younger people will often look for employers who offer it.

If there is a team member who does not want to talk about his/her personal challenges, that is totally fine. That is their choice and that privacy is respected. However, in my experience in talent development, I have learned that most people will take help in all areas of their lives as long as it will not be held against them.

The mindset in high-performing company cultures is how the company can help each team member, not how it can be used against them.

The benefits of developing the total person

To win the battle for talent, you must develop more than employees’ hard skills required for the job. You must develop their soft skills as well, which enables them to live a more fulfilling life.

There are many benefits of a holistic talent development approach, including:

  • Employees are happier because they resolve/minimize their major challenges in life
  • Employee retention rates are higher
  • Higher performance is achieved when employees have greater clarity in all areas of their lives
  • Employees who get the support of their companies through challenging times get loyalty in return when the company needs them the most

Remember, you hire the whole person, so developing the total person is a win/win approach. Helping employees in all areas of their lives creates a positive company culture and creates an employer of choice reputation.

And that’s a development we all can support. Those Who Plan – Profit!