We have all heard the mantra: Learn from your experiences. And according to more than 30 years of research from CCL’s Lessons of Experience project and other studies, a manager’s ability and willingness to learn from experiences is the foundation for leading with impact.

So let’s say you’re willing and able.  What types of experiences will best help you develop?

The recent study, “Grooming Top Leaders: Cultural Perspectives from China, India, Singapore and the United States,”  led CCL researchers Meena Surie Wilson, Ph.D., Ellen Van Velsor, Ph.D., N. Anand Chandrasekar, and Corey Criswell to uncover the five universally important sources of leadership learning which are most likely to stimulate leader development.

  1. Constructive bosses and superiors.These are positive role models, teachers, catalysts, mentors and negative role models who have a positive impact. As a leader, you must be mindful of your own influence and impact.
  2. Turnarounds. These involve fixing a failing or underperforming operation.  They usually involve organizational restructuring or corporate change.
  3. Increases in Scope. These involve promotion and always mean an increase in the manager’s responsibilities and visibility.
  4. Horizontal Moves. These developmental experiences transition a manager to another function, line of business, organization, industry sector or region.
  5. New Initiatives. These are ambitious plans for business growth, such as develop or launch new products and services, adopt new technologies, craft a new policy or process, build a plant or unit from scratch, develop a new market, embark on a new line of business or create a new business entity.

These “Basic Five” development experiences provide a suitable mix of opportunity that can help your organization be more intentional in developing early and mid-career managers.

Which of these five have you experienced and how were you impacted as a leader? 
Source: White Paper, “Grooming Top Leaders: Cultural


Perspectives from China, India, Singapore and the United States

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