Six Leadership Development Triggers

Six Leadership Development Triggers

There is no one way to be a good leader. In the same vein that there is no one book you can read to make you one. Individuals will come from different starting points and need differing inputs to help them reach their true leadership potentials.   What triggers people to embark on their leadership development journey can be as unique as the person themselves. Here are some common leadership development triggers:

1. Inspirational bosses and peers

We should never underestimate the power of being managed well or witnessing good leadership in action. By seeing others lead well and the positive impact it has both on the people around them and on the quality of work produced by these same people, can be extremely motivational. You will want to mirror those same qualities and learn the skills and techniques required to be an equally effective leader.

good boss (happy team)

2. Negative management experiences

The same is equally true with the impact a bad leader can have on motivating them to invest in their leadership development. We can probably all think of a time when we have been managed poorly and ineffectively. It could be a manager who ruled with an iron fist and wasn’t able to nurture individual members of their team. Or in more dire circumstances, a leader who bullied and threatened their teams into submission. Whichever the case, these types of leaders can be just as effective at triggering a person to want to do better and be better. A negative management experience can be the catalyst for people to delve deeper into leadership development.

3. Lifestyle changes

The addition of a new family member, a health scare or a cross-country house move. It might not seem likely to be linked to a desire to learn how to be a better leader. More often than not, it is in these large, pivotal moments where you learn a lot about yourself as well as how other people view you. This can be an extremely pivotal moment of change. You may want to find a better work-life balance, take home less stress, or adopt the same feeling of peace you found at home into your work environment. Identifying your individual leadership development gaps and ways to plug them through courses, programmes and coaching can help a person achieve these goals.

4. Travel and cultural experiences

Stepping out of your comfort zone and working or travelling abroad is oftentimes a catalyst for change. Being able to witness a way of working (or living!) that is different from what you have been used to can be a lightbulb moment. Seeing that there is more than one way to achieve the same end goal is both liberating and exciting. It can allow a learner to adopt these methods within their own leadership and management styles. Or simply create curiosity to learn more about the different ways that they can develop their leadership toolkit.

Leadership Development Trigger - Travel

5. Sports and team activities

Have you ever been in a school or college sports team? Perhaps you help run your local 5-a-side football team now? Seeing how a great coach is able to rally their team together both in defeat or triumph can be a beautiful moment to watch. One that stays with you long after the game has finished. Equally, the examples of teamwork from playing the sport or being part of a social club can be something an individual would want to emulate into their workplace teams. When teams work well together, under good leadership, the quality of output is much improved.

Team Activities (huddle)

6. Recognition or sponsorship from organisations

Perhaps your manager has recognised your potential for growth. Or the organisation’s learning and development plans include mandatory attendance at leadership development programmes. Whatever the reason, whether it is to make you more effective at what it is you already do, or to help you progress up the career ladder, good organisations will want to see their people have enriching experiences; leadership development courses are one such way of enriching.

What next?

As we mentioned at the very beginning of this post, every development journey is different. You may see yourself reflected in one of these six groups of catalysts, or your own trigger may have been different. What’s important is that you start the journey, regardless of the trigger.

People who have taken part in our programmes, be it a five-day residential Leadership in Management course, or Personalised Coaching, have described the experience as being life-changing, which goes to show what a positive effect a well-run, experiential leadership development programme can have.

Leadership Development is rewarding. Leadership development programmes and other forms of learning strengthens you as an individual, positively impacts those around you, and is of a tangible benefit to your organisation too.

What was the catalyst to your own leadership development journey? If you would like to discuss how Leadership Trust can help you develop further, contact us on

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