Actionable Nudge Strategies for Leadership Development


Companies spend nearly $3.4 billion every year for turning their managers into leaders – and yet research studies have shown that 50% to 60% of managers fail to execute the strategies that they were hired to implement even after 18 months of taking up the job. And it is not because they lack the required knowledge or experience; it is simply because they need to develop leadership skills. And this may compel you to think that if training couldn’t do the trick, then what will?

The answer is just a gentle nudge that guides them in the right direction without imposing any restrictions!

It is the gap between the ‘knowing ‘and the ‘doing’ that changes nothing even with all the trainings on leadership strategies, communication skills, and management fundamentals. This gap is created by flawed reward systems, short-term goals, or priorities that are constantly competing for the manager’s attention.

Fortunately, companies can nudge their managers to perform better by leveraging behavioural insights. Nudge strategies capitalize on encouragement and enablement instead of direct instructions and strict enforcements.

Here are some examples to help you better understand how nudge techniques use behavioural science to boost managerial performance:

Direct Instructions Nudge
Instructing a child to clean the room Playing a game that includes room-tidying
Signs that tell people not to litter with fine warnings Placing more dustbins where they are easily visible and accessible
Budgeting for grocery shopping Using a basket instead of a trolley


Nudging techniques take into account people’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Based on the understanding of these factors, choices are designed for people so they can make the right decisions without being forced or directly instructed.

Creating Leadership Strategies Using Nudge Techniques

You can start with a written plan that covers the following questions:

  • What is your goal?
  • What is your nudge campaign targeting to improve or enhance? Is it employee engagement? Is it productivity? Or is it leadership skills?
  • Who is your target audience? Managers? Or Employees?
  • How frequently do you plan on nudging people? Every day? Once a week? Or once a month?
  • How are you scheduling your nudge messages? Based on specific events? Or a certain time of the day?
  • How are you going to send out your nudge messages? Via automated emails? Signs? Or during meetings?
  • Are you involving any others teams or departments? Do you need the help of your IT team? Should the messages be reviewed by top management before they can be circulated?
  • What plan do you have to measure the effectiveness of your nudge tactics? Anonymous surveys? Data analysis? Performance reports?

The Transition from Training to Reinforcement

The increased demands of work often make even the most highly motivated and efficient managers fall back on their old techniques and become task-focused. But, if your leadership strategies are based on behavioural science, they will work to ensure that managers remain mindful of their communication style, give feedback, recognize employees and take informed decisions even when they are under pressure and stress.

A nudge program can prove to be your turbocharger for increased productivity and efficiency. Companies that want to unlock their employees’ true potential can team up with a reputed HR consultancy to roll out their nudge campaigns. An HR advisory will design and execute proven leadership strategies that help your managers and employees to adapt and thrive in a dynamic business landscape.

Author Bio:

Liliana Chitnis is a former HR professional who now works as a content marketing executive at NamanHR, an organization that offers end-to-end HR solutions to help companies build a strong human capital base. She strongly believes in the power of consistent training in the workplace. Liliana writes about various topics related to human resources and shares trends, techniques, and tips with her readers. She loves to read and practice yoga regularly, and occasionally binge on Netflix.


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