ATD Blog

Developing Multiple Levels of Leaders in Any Organization

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In organizations with 100 or more employees, leadership is required at more than one level. In larger organizations, multiple levels of leaders are needed to effectively manage work teams that are trying to achieve strategic business outcomes. 

A decade ago, organizational studies conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and others found a decline in leadership bench strength, leading to a significant concern regarding a leadership skills gap. Those issues continue 10 years later. CCL’s research identified four primary causes: 

  • recruiting wars for talent
  • retirement of Baby Boomers
  • changes in the nature of work and how it is done
  • inadequate organizational practices to identify, select, and develop talent.

At Lee Health, we have been strategizing how to close the leadership skills gap. We started with competency modeling, and more recently, we’ve built a department to tackle the ongoing, urgent, and reactive needs (from an OD perspective) that evolve in dysfunctional departments and teams. The challenge is to pursue a balanced, proactive approach that develops leaders at multiple levels and minimizes the team’s dysfunction. That sort of strategy takes the long view into account, in contrast to the urgency of the moment—and the urgent always overtakes the important.

With that in mind, the team at Lee Health has developed a leadership development model to guide our work in closing the leadership skills gap and move an increasing number of women and men from the general talent pool into a leadership pipeline. This strategy includes a variety of learning and development initiatives, including:

  • competency assessment, 360 interviews, individual development plans, and coaching for high potential emerging leaders
  • 41 e-learning modules that include various educational resources on each topic
  • a series of open enrollment courses address leadership topics and the competencies that emerge within those topics. For example, in our “Leader as Teacher” model, we recruit and train leaders to join our faculty team as they bring immediate credibility to any course from their own leadership role in the system.

What’s more, there is measurement and evaluation of every class and each leadership development initiative.


Want to Learn More?

Developing Multiple Levels of Leaders in Any Organization, our session at the ATD 2017 International Conference& Exposition, offers a closer look at the three-step leadership development approach used by Lee Health. Our goal is to provide insight from one large and complex organization that is committed to the development of effective and efficient leadership practitioners. We join with other ATD 2017 attendees as lifelong learners in the study of how to anticipate the organizational needs of the future, while building a leadership development culture today. 

This case study session will be an interactive exchange with others looking for best practice approaches to organizational leadership development. This is a collaborative journey, not to be done in our corporate silos. Let’s learn together and learn from each other to add to the bench strength of emerging leaders who are addressing the competencies needed in tomorrow’s workplace.


About the Author

Dr. Dick Daniels brings 16 years of leadership development experience in consulting on leadership development cultures and executive coaching. He is a leadership development specialist at Lee Health in Ft. Myers, Florida, where he is designing a 12-month program for executive leaders across the healthcare system. His new book has received recognition in five national book award reviews, including the Gold Medallion for best business book in the Midwest Independent Publishing Association for the 12-state area, "Leadership Briefs: Shaping Organizational Culture to stretch Leadership Capacity." He also started The Leadership Development Group, a LinkedIn community with 20,000 global members.

About the Author

Rebecca Ruding, leadership development specialist, served as project co-lead in designing, developing, and implementing Lee Health’s succession planning and leadership development models. A member of national and Southwest Florida ATD chapter (SWFL), she is currently pursuing her CPLP. Rebecca has 10 years of experience in human resources and leadership development in both retail and healthcare settings. She earned a master’s degree of organization development from Bowling Green State University.

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