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Leadership Development: “I’ve never been so motivated”

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It seems like people want quick and easy leadership development. The Board and budget-holders mainly.

Facilitators and trainers just spread their magic dust and, lo and behold, powerful leaders emerge. Not only is our expectation of leaders still in the mould of the ‘heroic leader’, but we expect miracles from our leadership development programmes too.

At the same time, there’s  an expectation from programme designers that leadership development is necessarily hard. It’s going to be tough. People will be challenged. Pushed out of their comfort zone.

It’s easy to see where this comes from.

  • The leadership development industry grew out of war – and what makes successful leaders at times of crisis.
  • It grew out of psychology – before the word ‘positive’ was introduced into that field.
  • It grew out of scarcity and the necessity for more – better performance and increased productivity.

So if your leadership pipeline is full of broken people who need fixing psychologically; who are leading through crises, and working in situations of famine and scarcity, not currently delivering – fine.

Go ahead, if you think that approach works.  If, on the other hand, you have a pipeline of good, talented people, who need the skills and opportunities to excel, maybe there’s a better way?

I work with people out in the field, dealing with famine and scarcity on a daily basis. When we use the Forton leadership model, their response is tremendous. Yesterday one client, on a long-distance line from Africa said,

“I’ve never been so motivated.”The Forton Group working with leaders in Ghana

I’m regularly asked what the secret of our approach to leadership development is. What’s the one thing that makes the Forton model so much more enduring?

I could talk for hours about the preparation we do with our participants: helping them know what to expect, so that they’re ready, willing and eager to learn from the very start.

Or about the importance of applying the leadership skills they learn – so that they have a positive impact on their teams, long after they’ve left the classroom.

I’m also asked about ‘blended learning’ and the Learning Centre that our global clients use to support our clients, even in those most remote parts of the world.

But if I were to talk about the one magic bullet that I value above all others, it may surprise you.

We always ask people how they want to work together.

  • Before the introductions.
  • Before setting out the agenda
  • Simply inviting everyone to contribute to, and agree to, a way of working together

I see this moment as the chance to co-create your perfect day at work, with your colleagues.

Where people are honest, clear and transparent with each other. Where they know what’s expected and they’re giving and receiving genuinely constructive input.

And someone always demands that they have fun too – whatever that looks like for them.

And the benefits of this are….?

  • When people co-create agreements, based on their sincerely held values, they are more likely to live into them.
  • So you have leadership qualities on display from the outset.
  • Participants are more likely to respect the agreements. Even if your idea of fun is not the same as mine.
  • They are more likely to be respectful in accepting input and giving feedback. Because they have ownership and a stake in that process.

So I invite you to check. How do your leadership development events start? Are your trainers handing down the ‘rules of engagement’? Are they reading out the corporate values? Are they doing nothing, and expecting people to reach their own ways of working as they muddle along?

Yes, we do learn from pain. Eventually.

Yes, some of us are motivated away from suffering.

And yes, some course designers still believe that taking someone apart and putting them back together again is the way to develop their leadership qualities.

Despite the known attrition rate, in terms of poor post-course performance, absenteeism or resignation levels.

Can your organisation really afford this?

Yet when we have a clear vision to work towards; we know what ‘good’ looks like, it’s so much easier to get there.

People love the taste of success.

And if leadership is about one thing; it’s about finding the simplest, easiest way to success.

It’s about removing the interference and releasing the potential.

Would a modern leadership development model support your organisation’s success? Based on vision, shared values and authentic leadership?

One that’s easy for leaders to use in the real world. Make their lives easier and motivate their teams better. If the answer’s yes, then get in touch.

And if you do want to know more…

  • Our next UK open programme is on the 16th and 17th September, where you can send a team member to experience our approach for themselves.
  • Or you can arrange an in-house course for 6 people or more
  • Or you can look at the date of events in your part of the world here

And, coming soon, we’re introducing some great leadership development classes online – which mean you can tap into new learning from wherever you are.  And our accredited leadership coach training programme will soon be available through remote classrooms.

Contact me at


Author: Helen Caton Hughes

Leadership and Team Coach based on inspirational and practical tools. Works with leaders around the world; trains coaches to International Coach Federation standards. Passionate about finding best ways for leaders to inspire themselves and get the best from their teams

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