In this episode, Kelly Chickos, Senior Manager of Global Learning and Development at STERIS, talks about Situational Leadership’s® role in her training curriculum.

Episode Transcript


Welcome to Leadership Quick Takes from The Center for Leadership Studies. In this episode, Kelly Chickos, senior manager of global learning and development at STERIS Corporation, talks about Situational Leadership®’s role in her training curriculum. for The Center for Leadership Studies, here’s your host, Sam Shriver.

Sam Shriver

Where do you position Situational Leadership® training in your curriculum, and why?

Kelly Chickos

I would say more of the middle leaders. We have a program called Frontline Leadership that we use to target our newer leaders. The Frontline Leadership program is not a prerequisite to go through Situational Leadership®, but that’s the progression we’ve seen naturally. The Frontline Leadership program is a year long. You meet once per month, and it’s a 90-minute classroom experience, but it’s virtual. We introduce Situational Leadership® at a high academic level, and from there, the expectation is that they take those skills and concepts and they’re working through them on the job, and their manager needs to be their coach through that. So you’ve heard of the 70 2010 model. This is very similar. So really, only 10% is in the classroom. That other 20 is coming from their manager as the coach.

And then that big chunk of learning is when they’re on the job, making it their own, they’re using those concepts and coming back to the group and saying, here’s what worked well, here’s what I tried that didn’t work so well. So it’s very much a leadership community if you will. We start off with just an introduction to leadership strategies. Here they get exposed to the model again, very high level, to let them know that the answer to the question of what is your leadership style? Your answer should always be, well, it depends. And that kind of lays the foundation of this is all about how you can best influence. So next month, we talk about what I believe is one of the number one leadership competencies, and that’s building trust. So, we’ve bundled building trust and employee engagement.

We help them understand this is the number one leadership competency, building trust. And it’s something that you as a leader need to continuously self-assess in how are you building trust with your team? Because you need to be building trust every single day. It can take one event that can help damage the trust, and then you have to build it all over again. We want our leaders to understand that when it comes to employee engagement, they’re one of the number one factors as leaders that helps influence their direct reports experience in all their research. What does Gallup say? Gallup says people join companies, they leave leaders. So we just make that a little more real to them, and it’s an opportunity for a lot of self-reflection.

We then move into things such as team dynamics, Tuckman’s model forming Storming morning, and performing. Something that a lot of people have heard before, but they don’t really understand what their role is in it and how they as leaders, need to let team storm. And that is a great learning opportunity. We also introduce Patrick Lencioni’s five dysfunctions of a team and what they can do to really influence the team, so it ties back into what they learned in one of the first sessions about trust. As leaders, they need to be a little vulnerable. They need to admit to their team that they’re not an expert in everything, and they can leverage the strengths of their team all in an effort to get attention to results.

And I think that’s one of the things that we do well, in that we use MBOs managing by objectives. So, we do share from the top of the house what the business goals are for the company. And we look to our leaders to really cascade those down. So even a leader on the front lines knows what the organization is trying to accomplish, and they can help cascade those goals for their team. So, if a team doesn’t know what the goals are, how can they be set up for success? We then give them tools for effectively giving and receiving feedback because they need to model receiving feedback in order to effectively give feedback. And it may sound super corny, but we really want them to understand that feedback is a gift. We have a separate curriculum on performance management.

It’s not part of frontline leadership, but one of our guiding principles in that is no surprises. So when it comes time for the annual review, we don’t want anybody to be blindsided of, wait, you didn’t tell me that this was something that I wasn’t successful in. So we don’t want those surprises. We want our leaders to have open communication and talk with their employees formally and informally. So maybe some formal one-on-ones, but an open-door policy. And for those that manage virtually, there’s so much technology now that we have access to where you can get your direct report on a webcam and have a conversation.


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