L.E.A.D.E.R.s is a research-backed leadership skills training program for professionals at all stages and levels. It is our flagship program here at Catalyst Development. When I talk about it, people often ask how the program came about and why we recommend it for just about everyone we meet.
Early in my HR career, I learned quickly that when we promoted people because they were good at their current job, more often than not, they would not be successful when they suddenly began supervising people. Leading people seems so “common sense.” The problem with common sense, though, is that it’s only common if we teach it.
In 2008, when I was HR Director at the Hotel Phillips, I created a year-long supervisor training. It was about building the leadership skills one would need to supervise people. I opened it up to current supervisors and anyone else who hoped to be a supervisor one day. They learned from me and other successful leaders in the hotel. This was truly a development program to not just learn but to practice what you learn. I created it as a response to a real. We saw immediate success in moving people from a management style to a leadership style. It even provided reflection for those strong leaders to take their work to the next level.
Over the next 14 years, I sat in many workgroups and had discussions about the skills gap among workers. Each year, the Society for Human Resource Management and others would issue reports on the most important skills for workers. These skills tied directly to the skills I was teaching at the Hotel Phillips. I kept hearing from others that the skills gap was wide and widening. People were being hired, but they didn’t have those important skills.
Every time I sat in these conversations, I thought to myself, this is a great conversation… but what are we doing about it?
In 2020, I decided to stop talking and do something about it. I did some intentional work to dust off the supervisor training that I started so many years ago. I tied it to my doctoral research.
Finally, I merged it with my current passion, which is developing leaders at all different stages and levels of their career journey. I have found that whether it was my teenage kids or a seasoned executive, all these skills were critically important. We just talk about them differently.
In 2021, I took the individual skill development programs I had created and tied them together in umbrella categories. These skill umbrellas include:
- Lead-Who are you as a leader?
- Engage-How do we have meaningful conversations?
- Accept-How do we create an environment of belonging?
- Develop-How do we create strong teams/relationships?
- Efficient-How do we get things done and remove barriers?
- Resilient-How do we pivot?
Each umbrella has its own session with 6 career and power skills tucked into them. At Catalyst Development, we love it when we get to do all six sessions in succession. We see the best success when people go through the whole program because the skills build on each other—one is not more important than the other. That’s why we love L.E.A.D.E.R.s!
To learn more about L.E.A.D.E.R.s. you can visit www.katieervin.com.
Dr. Katie Ervin, also known as “The Culture Doctor,” is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Development. She is the author of You Might Be An Asshole… But It Might Not Be Your Fault!, which was a #1 Amazon New Release in 2023.