The fourth stage of Adair’s framework involves giving inexperienced team leaders the chance to lead. This means presenting new leaders with a set of progressive challenges so they grow within their role.
In ‘How to Grow Leaders’ Adair writes that ‘leaders grow by facing and surmounting even more difficult leadership challenges. If organisations want to grow leaders – or at least create the conditions necessary for growth – they can do no better than to give potential leaders the chance to lead.’
Day-to-day experience needs building upon. In contact centres with flat structures, plans need to be carefully worked out to make sure new leaders are presented with challenges and are supported along the way as part of their development.
There is limited evidence that organisations do this successfully. There are too many pressing issues that make the plans hard to put into practice.
Some team leaders gain experience by working on projects or in other departments as part of their development.They may also undertake some aspects of their line managers’ role or represent them at meetings. However, it’s rare to find a team leader who has a clear development plan that is being actioned.
Coens and Jenkins write:
‘Standing alone, there is nothing wrong with development goals, action plans and organisational support for individual growth – they are all useful and, at times, are necessary. The problem is the wholesale implementation and means of triggering these actions.’ (‘Abolishing Performance Appraisals’ 2004).