Leaders found less than proficient at leading others…


Would it be fair to say that an important part of leadership has got to be the ability to lead others?

Yet, in a survey published by Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), only 45% of leaders are rated ‘proficient’ at this by their boss.

Wait a minute, are you saying that more than half of the European leaders out there are not considered very good at leading other people by their boss?

Yes exactly.

That is, if not shocking, then at least seriously thought provoking.

But the sad fact is that it correlates very well with the Gallup surveys that say that 60+% of our workforce are not particularly engaged in their job (and 23% are actively disengaged.) Engagement is, to a very large extent, a function of leadership.

These are depressing stats and to me, it just confirms that there is a serious challenge out there to improve our leadership capacity.

CCL recommends 3 ways to improve that situation:

  • Challenging assignments that offer opportunities to practice new skills in the workplace;
  • Relationships with other people who can provide feedback and support, including bosses and trusted colleagues; and
  • Coursework and training focused on leadership competencies needed by your organisation.

In all immodesty, this is exactly the way we do it and have been doing it on our GROW leadership program for some years now. We combine all there elements in one program.

You (and maybe your boss) define a challenging assignment that you would like to work on over the next 12 weeks. We prefer wicked problem to puzzles.

We use the Action Learning format for our work, which means you will be working in different constellations with your colleagues, sometimes the full set (a class), on other occasions, in table teams of five and most of the time, more intensely, in small triads that are supported by your coach.

The curriculum or course work is mainly introduced on a 3 day workshop that starts the 12 week course.  We kick-off the leadership course with this workshop that introduces participants to a number of practical approaches on how to lead others, that they can pick and choose from – depending on the challenge they are working on.

The driving design principle is to take participants through as many interactions of the learning circle as possible.

If you are interested in learning more about how that works, you can watch a brief video below – and if you have the curiosity to take a deeper dive into the subject of how we produce engagement on our teams, you are welcome to download my ebook Understanding Egagement.

In this brief e-book, we will look at how the lack of engagement is to a large extent a function of leadership. And that if we really want to change the engagement levels on our teams, we will need to make radical shift in how we understand the world of work. The shift is all about moving from a transactional mindset to a transformational mindset. We will look into what that means, how it can help you as a manager and why it is so important.


This is the 15th article in a series on how to lead as a first time manger. If you would like to know more, check out other articles of the first time manager series:

  1. How are you supporting your first time managers?
  2. The big leap… from team member to team leader
  3. First time manager – The challenges
  4. Direction, Alignment & Commitment in 4 easy steps
  5. How your relations affect your results
  6. Powerful or powerless, what do you prefer?
  7. Behaviour
  8. Conversations, not small talk
  9. Take charge of your energy levels!
  10. You won’t get results by pussyfooting around the issues!
  11. What drives a fabulous employee experience?
  12. Employee experiences and why you need to focus on consequences
  13. No fear, it is the foundation of a great team.
  14. ETC is at the heart of your employee experience.