Whole Brain® Thinking for Manager and Leader Development


Leaders aren’t born; they’re developed. Your organization needs to constantly invest in leadership and management development to create a deep bench that sustains your business well into the future. 

Effective leadership is the difference between organizations that win and those that get left behind. But what does it mean to develop leaders, and what’s the right approach? We believe the Whole Brain® Thinking framework provides an alternative to the one-size-fits-all leadership development approaches we see in too many organizations. Here are some common challenges with nurturing leaders — and how we take a different approach.


Common Challenges of Developing Leaders and Managers

Organizations spend considerable time and money on leadership and management development programs, but they don’t always yield success. Here are three common challenges. 


Setting Goals and Measuring Effectiveness

Putting high-potential employees through leadership development programs doesn’t denote success, beyond being able to organize such activities. Determining whether your leadership development programs are successful can take years. 

You must also determine what metrics you'll use to measure “success”? Building a deep bench for management or executive-level positions? Developing leaders who improve specific metrics, such as retention or team productivity? 

While measuring success is difficult, it’s impossible if your development activities are little more than a check-the-box exercise.


Securing Adequate Resources

Leadership development programs cost money and time. This can create conflict in organizations that are worried about budgets or pulling people away from revenue-generating activities. 

While money isn’t the most important or even primary factor in the success of management and leadership development programs, there must be organizational buy-in. If the C-suite doesn’t consider these efforts to be business-critical, you won’t get the resources you need.


Aligning With Business Goals

Leadership development programs need to support your overall culture and goals, and they must be able to scale as your organization grows. If your program isn’t selecting, coaching, and preparing employees for the high-level needs of your organization, it’s not serving the business. And that makes buy-in much harder to secure.


How Whole Brain® Thinking Supports Leadership and Management Development

Herrmann’s talent platform and Whole Brain® Thinking help employees at all levels understand the power of cognitive diversity and how different thinking preferences can yield collective success.  Here are some ways Whole Brain® Thinking influences effective leadership development.


Encourages Flexibility Within Teams

One of the keys to successful leadership and management development is ensuring that your emerging leaders understand their work styles and preferences and how theirs may differ from other members of their team.

When managers can embrace ‌cognitive diversity in their teams, they move beyond inflexible modes of leadership. They instead trust their people, work through challenges together, and find the most effective path forward for the employee.

With Whole Brain® Thinking, you can incorporate almost any type of leadership competencies and anchor them so your people feel personally connected.

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Helps Them Understand Their Blindspots

Leaders are effective when they understand their teams’ strengths and weaknesses. The same applies to them. When leaders understand their blindspots, they can make better choices about personal development.

Whole Brain® Thinking helps people understand their preferred ways and modes of thinking, as well as recognize and appreciate other people’s different preferences. When leaders view work through this lens, they’re less willing to embrace one-size-fits-all leadership styles. They accept that blindspots are part of life but commit to continuous learning and growth. When leaders are dedicated to their professional development, they foster an environment in which team members feel encouraged to learn and grow.


Harness Cognitive Diversity

When organizations understand that each person has distinct thinking preferences, they can tailor leadership and development programs to their strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, people who prefer analytical thinking (the Blue quadrant in Whole Brain® Thinking) may benefit from development activities emphasizing problem-solving and real-life scenarios. People who gravitate toward interpersonal thinking (Red quadrant) might prefer development activities that help leaders work through difficult conversations or engage in negotiations. 

Remember that everyone has the capacity to succeed using each quadrant of thinking. Leadership development programs can also leverage Whole Brain® Thinking to engage participants in activities that don’t match their preferences. This can help these leaders confront their weaknesses and build resilience in a safe setting. From there, they can bring their Whole Brain back to their team, better prepared to lead in today’s fast-moving work environment.

Trusted By

The Whole Brain® Thinking approach gives us a common vocabulary to talk about our differences, valuing diversity in an inclusive manner. It helps teams become more effective by leveraging their strengths and becoming more aware of potential blind spots. It’s key to building inspiring, disruptive, inclusive leadership and cohesive, future-ready teams.

Isabelle Coudray
Learning & Development Manager
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Developing Effective Leaders With Whole Brain® Thinking

Whole Brain® Thinking, the HBDI® assessment, and the Herrmann Platform have helped individuals, teams, and organizations develop better collaboration, thinking, and performance for over 40 years. Your leadership and management development program shouldn’t be one size fits all. Use the Whole Brain® Model to help current and future leaders establish a foundation in thinking that leads to better thinking, better alignment, and better leadership.