CSA Leadership Lab

Whereas most leadership programs provide participants with knowledge, the CSA Leadership Lab focuses on BEHAVIOUR.

Through the lab journey managers learn to understand, recognise, develop and systematically apply the leadership behaviours that are required for optimal success at their particular leadership level.

Leadership Lab? What does it entail?

Leadership programs to equip seasoned or wannabe leaders with knowledge about the latest management practices and thinking abound. Yet, very often these programs don’t live up to expectation as they tend to focus on knowledge, while scant attention is paid to the behavioural aspects of that leadership requires, such as courage, decisiveness, initiative, the ability to develop others.

The purpose of the CSA Leadership Lab is to create an environment in which managers learn to understand, recognise and demonstrate the leadership behaviours that are required for optimal success. This is achieved through an objective assessment of their strengths and development areas, as well as a systematic process for developing the behaviours they need through a number of online coaching sessions.

What are the Outcomes for leadership development?

At the end of the Lab process, participants will:

  • Understand the interplay of behaviours that lead to leadership success.
  • Have an understanding of the different demands and skills sets required at different organizational levels.
  • Have obtained an objective assessment of their leadership strengths and development gaps by trained behavioural experts.
  • Have a development plan, compiled in conjunction with the assigned coach for ongoing, on-the-job use.
  • Have had received guidance and practical examples on how to develop the behaviours they lack, as well as the opportunity to have practiced these on-the-job through assignments.
  • Have received feedback on their assignments (practical, on-the-job demonstration of behaviour), as well as further coaching for optimal achievement.
  • Receive further development reinforcement after the formal coaching period has been concluded.

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What happens during stage 1 (identification of needs)?

When organizations wish to make this journey part of their development process, we need to understand the role of each leader, how he/she fits into the organization, at what level of leadership he/she functions, what the organizations’ expectations are of their leaders and what outcomes they wish for. During this stage, the exact tools for assessment are decided upon, a quote is provided, a 50% payment is received and a formal agreement is entered into.

What assessments are included?

At a minimum, a personality questionnaire is required, as well as an in-basket exercise, which serves as demonstration of leadership as observed in written interaction with others. This serves as the ‘basic package’.

For those organizations wishing to work with more information, reasoning abilities could be added, as well as the CPP to assess potential to deal with complexity. There are also more leadership simulations such as role plays, analysis and presentation exercises that could be included for a richer evaluation and development journey.

Why is it necessary to do assessments?

Assessments provide an objective, measured means of identifying a leader’s strengths and development areas, thus enabling specific and focused development.

For what types of leaders will this journey be helpful?

Given that the basic package entails observation through written interaction with others, a standard lab journey may be best suited to middle to senior managers.

However, for first line managers, who tends to interact in person, a role play exercise may prove more appropriate and can be customised to the client’s need.

What kind of feedback is provided and how will it help participants?

Participants are provided with an overview of their personality profiles and how they impact on their leadership behaviour, as well as a detailed discussion of their leadership behaviours assessed in the in-basket exercise.

To whom is feedback provided?

Online feedback is provided to the individual leader in phase 3 of the journey. A separate feedback session of an hour is provided to the direct superior, assigned mentor or HR champion, who will be responsible for the in-house development of the individual leader.

What are the behaviours being assessed?

We make use of our proprietary CSA Behavioural Competency Framework, which consists of problem-solving, action-oriented, influencing and people development types of behaviours. It is a tried-and-tested competency framework against which we measure all our leadership assessments.

What will the coaching sessions entail?

Coaching focuses on developing the behaviours that are agreed to by both the individual manager and the coach as priorities, by eliciting understanding of where those behaviours originate, identifying examples of such behaviours in the workplace and creating opportunities for practicing these behaviours accordingly.

During coaching opportunities for applying the demonstration of desired behaviours are identified and rehearsed. The actual handling of these, pre-empted opportunities are recorded and reviewed.

How will reinforcement take place after coaching has been concluded?

Participants will receive weekly information, examples and challenges to reinforce the behaviours they focused on during coaching, for a further 3 months after conclusion of coaching.

How long does it take to complete the entire journey?

The journey is structured and agreed to during step 1 and will thus be unique to each individual. However, the 3 coaching interventions should take place at least once a month, suggesting that the whole journey will take a minimum of 3 months to the point where the 3rd coaching session has been concluded, plus another 3 months of automated reinforcement, resulting in approximately 6 months.

How do we know that the journey was successful?

When there is a measurement of improvement in at least one of the behaviours focused on.

Can you guarantee improvement?

When dealing with people and constantly changing circumstances, improvement cannot be guaranteed, but it is highly unlikely that no agreed improvement would have taken place.

What qualifications do the coaches have?

The coaches are formally trained in psychology and in the understanding of human behaviour as it relates to the workplace.