The How & Why of Leadership Development

July 31, 2019

In the June Round Table meetings, we discussed “The How & Why of Leadership Development.”

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Below are the notes from the June Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: Why Do We Need Good Leaders?

  • We need leaders to provide direction and focus.
  • They provide the necessary guidelines for the team.

Q2: What Traits Make a Good Leader?

  • Decision makers
  • Strategic thinkers
  • Visionaries
  • Absolute integrity
  • Strong ethics/values
  • Courageous
  • Influential
  • Accept ownership/responsibility
  • Good communicators
  • Support the team

Q3: Can Everyone Be a Good Leader?

  • Not everyone possesses the skills to be a good leader. Similarly, not everyone wants to have the responsibility/ownership that goes along with leadership.
  • However, everyone should strive to be a leader within their area of involvement and skill set.

Q4: How Do We Develop Good Leaders?

  • Lead by example to clearly communicate the desired leadership style.
  • Clearly communicate the leadership objectives.
  • Demonstrate steadfast support for the leaders that you are developing.
  • Do not belittle well-intentioned mistakes, offer understanding and support.
  • “Ask, don’t tell. Show, don’t yell.”

Q5: Does it Take a Good Leader to Develop Another Good Leader/s?

  • Yes – If the person developing the future leader is apathetic or lacks integrity, the new leader will follow-suit.

Q6: How Important is Coaching? What Works Better, Rewarding Good Behavior or Punishing Bad Behavior?

  • Coaching and nurturing are very important to leadership development. We should be focused on the success of the future leader, which will result in the success of the team. Positive reinforcement yields far greater success and reduces the fear of failure. However, it is the responsibility of all leaders to quickly recognize a subversive person who is not committed to successful leadership practices, or a person who is not capable of meeting the leadership situation that they are in, and remove them from that situation for the good of the team.


  • It is always important to remember that we are supposed to do God’s will, leading as God would want, which may be in conflict with our personal style or business goals. We will all have to answer to God eventually for our business practices.
  • Example: Henry Ford built a huge business empire at the expense of his family life and was generally perceived by society as curmudgeon and an un-loving father. While his business principles in-general were sound, how he executed them often left something to be desired.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Q1: Why Do We Need Leadership Development?

  • For our teams:
    1. It is not realistic to expect someone to come in cold and immediately know how to lead. Stop focusing on your need for a leader and develop a leader.
    2. Leaders often become an island to themselves without focusing on developing their managers into leaders – but we can’t do everything ourselves. We must empower our teams to support us in facilitating growth, improving efficiency, and protecting the values, vision, and mission of the company.
    3. Developing our employees will improve employee retention. People often don’t realize their own potential and helping them to realize their ability is a gift in itself. Your employees will appreciate this investment and will likely extend loyalty to you and the company.
    4. This development will ultimately make our employees better leaders throughout society and this has the potential to change the world.
  • For ourselves:
    1. As a leader, “You have to work on the business not in the business.” But you must have time in order to do that. Remember, if you don’t have anything in your bucket, you won’t have anything to give.
    2. Being a leader is often isolating and can make it difficult for our personal development, but we must find those who can help facilitate our growth. We must seek out avenues for this through books, or at church, CBRT, etc.

Q2: How Do We Develop People?

  • There are many models that incorporate mentorship, training, seminars, DISC surveys, etc. But the most effective method is personalization. Spend time learning about your employee and asking a lot of questions. What are their goals and aspirations? What are their experiences?
  • Teach them how to analyze their failures and turn them into opportunities for growth. This can be done through sharing your own experiences of failure and demonstrating how you handled it.
  • Once you have spent time developing and demonstrating to them what you expect from them as a leader, you must give them opportunities to practice. Give them more responsibilities starting first with low risk projects and increasing from there.
  • Remember that leadership development is like a garden: you must plant, fertilize, water, weed etc. in order to receive the harvest. It is the same of our employees. Nurture, develop, and cultivate.


  1. Be purposeful & proactive
  2. It takes a lot to develop a leader – we must be comfortable with difficult conversations
  3. Your investment is worth the time & risk
  4. We must be the leader we expect them to be
  5. Take a chance on someone

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Q1: What Are You Doing to Develop Yourself? 

  1. Seek out mentors
  2. Attend CBRT and other similar groups
  3. Read books
  4. Read Scripture
  5. Seek out feedback
  6. Spend time on self-reflection & awareness
  7. Practice self-leadership
  8. Identify something that scares you and go at it. Get out of your comfort zone.

Q2: Why Leadership Development?

  • Leadership development is essential for the health of our companies. We can’t grow and sustain that growth on our own. We must build strong, lower-level leaders throughout the company to help support our vision & mission.
  • Unfortunately, many mistakenly think that seniority equals competency in leadership. The two are not synonymous. Most people lack the understanding of what leadership actually entails, so it is our job to teach them no matter how long they have been with the company.

Q3: Is Leadership a Skill or Innate?

  • Influence seems to be innate; however, everyone can be developed. Some simply have a cap on how far they can or want to go. They may not end up being a leader of the company, but they can be developed into a leader in their sphere.
  • We must have a workplace culture where we value the development of all employees.

Q4: Can Everyone Be a Leader?

  • We often apply the term “leadership” to a specific role, typically in a company.  However, everyone is/can be a leader somewhere whether it’s at work, home, church, community, etc. Everyone has that potential and we must tap into it. Our goal should be to develop our employees into excellent leaders, wherever that may be applied. In turn, this will make them into better employees.
  • Focus on their strength and manage around their weakness.  Find what motivates them.

Q5: How Do We Implement This?

  • The main issue is time.  Most executives do not have the time to sit around thinking about leadership development, but someone needs to be. Someone needs to be thinking about how to implement the following:
    1. A leadership training program
    2. Coaching/mentorship
    3. Opportunities for them to practice what they’ve learned in the training programs


  1. Never underestimate the abilities of your employees. Everyone can be a leader with proper nurturing.
  2. Be thoughtful & intentional.
  3. Know where the ceiling is for each employee and recognize their coachability.
  4. When our team fails, it ultimately falls on us as the leader.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Q1: Why is Leadership Development Necessary?

  • To improve efficiency, we must be intentional about developing those key performance indicators or traits that we expect from our employees. Additionally, we must develop them in a way that aligns them with our company values and mission.

Q2: What is the Difference Between Leader & Leadership?

  • A leader gathers followers
  • Leadership develops those followers into more leaders

Q3: What Does Leadership Development Mean?

  • Cannot simply state your vision, mission, & values. The younger generation wants to know how those actually apply to your business practices. What is the practical application of those values?
  • We must coach for application
  • Example: Lou Holtz
    • People want to know the same things: Can I trust you? Do you care about me? Are you committed to excellence?

Q4: How Do You Develop Them?

  • Mentorship
  • Provide opportunities to practice
  • Allow people to fail
  • Role play
    • Teach them how to apply the values
    • Share your mistakes
  • Get away from the superman mentality. Share your failures for others to learn from.

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What is Contained Within or Meant by Leadership Development?

  • Training new leaders
  • Communicating good performance
  • Identifying leadership qualities
  • Reaching out to people
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Remembering that people are different
  • Being able to see beyond the metrics

Q2: Why is Leadership Development Necessary? Aren’t Leaders Just Born?

  • Schooling doesn’t necessarily teach management or leadership skills. Use continuous positive reinforcement to encourage the behaviors/traits that you desire.
  • Need to understand people and the influences from their outside life.

Q3: How Should an Organization Develop Their Leaders? Who is Responsible? Who Does the Development? When Should It Be Done?

  • An organization may have a checklist of “laws” or policies, but it is the job of those in leadership to explain those laws, and educate and inspire the employees. Leaders must provide the purpose or “the why” behind policies and decisions.


  • Live it, experience it, apply it. It is not about rules, laws, and lists.
  • Empower people to become more than their job so they can live a balanced life.
  • Learn, master, change.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting where we will discuss the “Vacation: Managing Time Off In An On Demand World.” RSVP to