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#18: Creating Leaders as a Consultant

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The expressions goes something like, "The job of leaders is not the create followers, it is to create more leaders." What role can consultant play in creating leaders in their clients' organizations?

While I suspect this is outside the scope of most of our engagements, you present an interesting opportunity to provide extra value. If our goal is to improve the lot of a client's organization, this logically extends to creating in client staff the ability to develop leadership skills. In most organizations, leaders come in all flavors, not just the one at the top of the org chart. So, how does a consultant provide those skills and experiences that foster leadership?

I see three ways to do this. The first is by setting an example of a person who diagnoses, explores, challenges, and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the organization. This is usually what you are asked to do in an organization, but you develop leaders by sharing your process and including staff in your deliberations. Second, what if you formally asked your sponsor to "assign" one or more staff to shadow you on the engagement? This allows you to, with sponsor approval, delegate some responsibility for project outcomes. Third, offer to train staff not participating in the project in some basic skills in organizational assessment, diagnostics, selected aspects of your technical disciplines and your philosophy about organizational change.

Tip: Beyond just delivering a better path forward, much of your value comes from sustained implementation of that improvement. This is best carried on by staff after you have concluded the engagement. Make development of technical and leadership skills a part of your engagement, and charge for the time you spend working with staff as a value add. Broadening your contribution to trainer as well as consultant may be in the best interests of everyone.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  client service  consultant role  leadership  sustainability 

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