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Using Behavioral Science to Transform Leadership Training

Companies are addressing challenges to leadership development with behavioral science. Learn about 3 practices transforming leadership development.

Published on 10 May, 2017 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022
Gamification is Being Applied to Leadership Development 1 1

Leading your team requires grit, skill, and dedication. With the complexity and volatility of today’s business world, traditional leadership development methods may not make the mark. Among many leadership development challenges, most notable are the barriers regarding:

  • Effective team development
  • Outdated leadership development approaches
  • Lack of evolving leaders’ environmental perspective

But what if you can take it a step further by transforming leadership development with behavioral science?

It makes sense to consider, since it combines both psychology and economics to explore factors that can affect how well a leader is developed, including honesty, happiness, and value perception. Here’s how:

1. Understand Behavior, Get Transparent, and Provide Clarity

If you want to change the way you’re approaching leadership development, you also have to understand behavior and lead by example. Behavioral science demonstrates that clarity on goals is a motivator. Part of that involves being transparent about what is going on, as well as providing clarity on what needs to be done to achieve the goals.

But before getting to that stage, it’s important to understand why an undesired behavior is set in motion. Observation is key, so allow habits to reveal themselves in the beginning. Then lead by example and demonstrate the action you want your leaders to take.

2. Use Gamification

Sometimes traditional leadership development approaches fall short of connecting learning new skills and applying them on the job in real-time.

However, behavioral science reveals that games can motivate individuals to achieve goals that are somewhat far-flung.

This state of mind, known as the “ludic loop,” can prove beneficial in transforming leadership development when turned into a competition or goal-reaching game. It turns mundane tasks, such as filling out reports, into exciting opportunities when followed with a reward.

Understanding Behavior is Key to Leadership Development

3. Encourage Better Decision-Making With Choices

Self-control can be challenging to some when posed with situations where an unethical act would result in gaining a large reward. The time of the day when presented with choices may also affect the decisions you make. Studies in behavioral science have also revealed that people are more inclined to be dishonest in the afternoon in comparison to earlier in the day.

Moreover, if you lack self-control due to a lack of environments that encourage better choices, then you may already be set up to fail. This can impact your leadership development in the same way if participants aren’t supplied with the right tools that encourage desired behaviors. Instead, change the way you approach leadership development and set your managers and team leaders up for success.

This may mean using online printing services that utilize a content distribution platform that can automatically print organizational support material on demand and save time. You can also consider the placement of signatures on documents that need to be signed, such as an agreement. By placing signature requirements at the beginning stages of the process versus the end, you can encourage honesty and commitment from the start.

Leadership Development Transformed

Leadership development offers a way for you and your management team to grow, encourage employee engagement and increase productivity. But when outdated approaches hamper the path to change, it’s time to use a different approach. Transforming leadership can be accomplished by using behavioral science, but employing the right tools, such as a content distribution in print and digital formats can provide access to templates with customization capabilities, is just as important because it helps set them up for success.

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