A Bottom-Up Approach to Leadership that Works

“If your people don’t reach their full potential, neither will your organization,” says Susan Fowler, a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. “The bottom line depends on the front line.”

“The research shows that the front line people are the ones who are essential to making your initiatives work—whether it’s implementing a change or a customer service program. You have to depend on those self leaders to make it happen.”

In Fowler’s experience, when L&D professionals equip individual contributors with the mindset and skillset of self leadership, they build a healthy and empowered workforce that is productive, innovative, and committed to getting results for their organizations.

In developing the learning design for the new Self Leadership training program from The Ken Blanchard Companies, Fowler begins by addressing mindset—Challenging Assumed Constraints, Activating Points of Power, and Being Proactive. This mindset is a real shift in perspective for most individual contributors who come into a training not understanding the benefits of self leadership.

Fowler explains that without the right mindset, individuals are less likely to embrace, learn, and apply the skills of Setting Goals, Diagnosis, and Matching (getting an appropriate leadership style), which are taught later in the program.

“Our Self Leadership program provides the skills individual contributors need to take the initiative and be responsible for their own success—for example, to proactively clarify goals and seek out the direction and support they need.”

Fowler is excited about the opportunities a renewed interest in self leadership offers to organizations—and she is appreciative of new research that helps make the business case for investing in self leadership training.

“When we first offered our self leadership program back in the early 1990s, we knew it worked from the results our clients were achieving, anecdotal data, and our own impact studies. What didn’t exist back then was outside empirical research that made the case for investing in individual contributor training.

“Over the last 15 years, there’s been a relative explosion of academic research that confirms our experience. Current research validates our approach to self leadership, which includes proactive problem solving, asking for feedback, selling your solutions, and negotiating for authority.

Blanchard’s own research into Employee Work Passion informs other aspects of the program.

“Teaching self leaders to activate their own points of power is important in helping them understand that they shouldn’t depend on someone else’s power to get the job done. In every case, the program teaches participants to challenge assumed constraints and take positive action.

“Performance in organizations is often stalled because employees don’t know how to ask for what they need when they need it. Our Self Leadership program teaches individuals the mindset and skillset to proactively take the reins, achieve their goals, and accelerate their own development.”

PS:  Interested in learning more about the Blanchard approach to creating a culture of self leaders?  Join Fowler for a free webinar on May 31–Creating a Culture of Self Leadership. It’s complimentary, courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.

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