There is an evolving body of evidence that suggests business, organizational, and individual value is realized when leaders serve as teachers. The following is a small sample of current research on the topic.
In 2013, authors Betof and Owens administered a survey to three of the Conference Board councils. These councils are comprised primarily of the senior leaders of talent, learning, organization development, and leadership development of their respective organizations. Participation was voluntary. The following is a summary of the key findings from 22 participating companies.
- Widespread use: About 90 percent of respondents report using a leaders-as-teachers (LAT) approach for in-house leadership training programs. Additionally, nearly 30 percent use this approach for technical or business function training. About 15 percent are currently updating or expanding their LAT programs.
- LAT program benefits: When asked what benefits are derived from using a LAT approach, respondents report the following:
- 70 percent say that LAT has contributed in a significant way to the development of employees and emerging leaders.
- In 60 percent of the companies, LAT programs are viewed as helping to strengthen organizational culture and communications.
- 50 percent report that the program helped the leader-teachers to develop and improve.
- 40 percent described the LAT approach as a key driver of business results and strategic alignment.
- 40 percent comment that LAT is an aid to succession planning and career development programs.
The detailed 2013 study, “The DNA of Leaders: Leadership Development Secrets,” examines 19 companies that have been recognized as exemplar organizations for their practices in developing leaders. Among the many findings is the trend that chief executives are helping to redefine notions of leadership. There has been a distinct shift away from standardized (often external, business school-centered) programs toward customized (often in-house, company-specific) programs that feature action learning as an important component and are tightly focused on non-negotiable company values. Most interviewees stress the importance of having senior leaders heavily involved in the design and execution of their programs, and 16 of the 19 human capital survey respondents say their CEOs are highly involved in senior programs.
Learn more from Leaders as Teachers Action Guide: Proven Approaches for Unlocking Success in Your Organization, available now.