In this article, we will examine the fundamental concepts of leadership development, and the critical role it plays in building businesses.
Leadership Development — an Overview
Leadership development is simply the process that helps increase the ability of people to perform in leadership positions within organizations. Leadership positions are those which facilitate the smooth execution of the corporate strategy through increasing the skills of others and building organizational alignment.
In essence, leadership is not just about winning a popularity contest, but about the cultivation of mutual trust and the contribution, one makes to the organization. While there are many programs on leadership development, very few of them deal with building skills.
Building leadership skills are essential for building a successful team and ultimately building a sustainable organization. No doubt, leadership development plays a crucial role in this regard. However, the term builds upon self-awareness — the ability to see one’s own contribution and individual strengths.
Leaders should be able to appreciate their own limitations, whereas self-awareness and an overall understanding of the organization should also be fostered. This can only come through sustained reflection within oneself and amongst others.
The challenge is to identify the right processes to foster leadership development. Most experts would agree that a combination of leadership skills training and on-the-job coaching is most effective.
However, some believe that training and development programs should be more targeted at developing specific talents and not the whole team. Some feel that a comprehensive program of leadership development should focus on the development of three core leadership skills: self-awareness, strategy implementation, and sustained success.
Self-awareness refers to a leader’s ability to assess his or her own personal performance and its relation to that of the team. It also involves being able to set goals and align achievements with those set goals.
Those who can manage their personal expectations are said to possess a high sense of self-discipline and motivation. On the other hand, great leaders have an excellent ability to connect with people, plan and influence their decisions in accordance with the team’s direction.
Strategy implementation relates to the action undertaken to achieve specific business outcomes. A good leader can effectively plan for and control strategies, to ensure that they are aligned with the company’s overall objectives.
Also, good leaders can integrate all aspects of the organization to create an integrated strategy. Those who can understand, influence, and control the direction of the organization effectively are said to possess a superb leadership development skillset.
These individuals are also good at building long-term relationships within their organizations, as well as fostering long-term sustainability.
Perhaps most importantly, leaders are said to enjoy sustained success if they can continuously learn and adapt to changing circumstances. This includes learning how to work with and influence other people.
Good leadership development programs will foster these skills by teaching individuals how to communicate effectively, how to plan and organize, how to motivate and inspire others, and how to improve their own leadership skills.
As individuals continue to mature and take on more responsibility, they are expected to continue to enhance their overall leadership skills through ongoing executive education and practice.
Allowing executives to continue to work toward this goal strengthens their abilities and provides a path toward a successful and sustainable leadership career.
The necessity for leadership development is apparent to many companies of all types. As one of the most powerful elements in a business, leaders not only set the pace of direction but also determine how they lead and interact with their employees.
Even the most senior managers are often forced to seek guidance from other members of their staff, and so the leadership development process is essential for maintaining a high level of productivity and success within a company.
Today’s businesses are experiencing a wide variety of unique challenges, so much so that many are now experiencing leaders who are significantly more skilled and qualified than ever before.
But what exactly does leadership development refer to? Quite simply, it refers to the creation of leaders capable of successfully leading others and of effectively communicating those leadership qualities to those around them.
This includes both an educational program aimed at addressing those learning gaps and practice exercises designed to help people develop and refine their skills. As such, leadership development can take many forms, including executive education, leadership development seminars, training programs, workshops, and programs, and even leadership camps.
How does leadership development address the current skills transfer gap between workers and employers? Often, employees are not receiving the training or advice they require to be successful in their jobs.
While companies do provide training and mentoring programs, there is often a wide variety of courses that are offered, and some employers may be missing out on choosing employees with the right skill sets.
By providing employees with a curriculum created especially for them, companies can bridge that gap and ensure that they are giving their employees the best chance to succeed.
But not everyone will benefit from leadership development. For such a course to be effective, it has to be led by someone who has expertise in this area. Such experts may be university professors, professional coaches, or experienced executives from other fields.
Those who lead such courses are also expected to train those who want to follow them, as well. The whole process needs to be formalized, which is why most training programs are also part of a leadership development strategy. Formal training often involves assessments, examinations, and case studies, as well as detailed discussions about the topic and the role each individual can play.
Leadership development programs are valuable, but they are only effective if there is a real effort to address the problems that exist. For one thing, it’s important to remember that effective leaders tend to think analytically, whereas the weak may tend to make emotional decisions.
It’s also important for leaders to understand the concepts behind the strategies that they use. For instance, an employer needs to know what benefits a formal training program can bring to the organization. Knowing those benefits is important in making the best leadership decision.
Learning leadership development requires leadership development experiences, as well as a structured system that can help them learn from those experiences.
Those who have had such experiences tend to become more skilled and knowledgeable in their fields, which makes them valuable additions to any organization.
As more organizations try to improve their performance and relevance in the market, there is a growing need for people with such qualities. That’s why employers are putting a premium on new employees who have leadership development skills.
Strategic leadership styles fall into three categories: comprehensive, integrated, and target-oriented. All three share common core elements in developing a framework for strategic leadership.
However, there are fundamental differences among these three core elements. Additionally, we will examine the relationship between these core elements and explore some of the common challenges that face both comprehensive and target-oriented strategic leadership styles.
A comprehensive strategic leadership framework is a set of assumptions and goals that a leader attempts to achieve, through a series of different ways.
These methods may include: promoting trust, communicating effectively, providing a positive image, establishing credibility, providing a clear vision, and much more.
As the name implies, a comprehensive framework lays out a path for accomplishing the desired results, and the different ways in which leaders may follow this path may vary widely.
A more integrated framework is the exact opposite of a comprehensive approach and assumes that the same set of methods can be applied to achieve the same overall goal.
This type of strategic leadership is very adaptable and allows for the full utilization of existing resources. The most obvious difference between an integrated and a comprehensive framework lies in the fact that the former focuses on the relationships between the leader and his/her subordinates, rather than those between the leader and his/her followers.
Because it doesn’t include the relationships between various teams and individuals, this style of strategic leadership is very flexible, allowing for the easy application of new tactics.
On the other hand, it also assumes that leaders are aware of the different personalities and behaviors among their subordinates, and uses this knowledge to put into place a series of leadership styles that work best with each individual.
There are two main types of organizational leadership frameworks: functional and visionary. The former is designed to help managers to understand their own organizations, while the latter examines how organizations operate so that managers can improve them.
To be successful in either of these frameworks, however, the leader must be able to create a vision for his/her organization. A comprehensive strategic leadership framework takes this a step further, by actually creating the vision of the organization, which is basically a well-defined set of goals and activities that are then realized through the day-to-day operations of the organization.
The main weakness of the strategy that follows strategic leadership is the fact that it relies heavily on the power of the leader alone. Although this style of management does not require the presence or input of other people, it is still very limiting in terms of creativity.
Because a leader creates the initial vision, others who are subordinate are only given the task of implementing the strategies created.
Thus, the strategic framework needs to include a balanced combination of input from various parts of the organization.
It is also advisable to allow some room for inevitable conflicts and misunderstandings, as long as they are brought about by good causes.
The concept of leadership development is not often understood by most people. They assume that the term refers to any number of things, including leadership courses, seminars, and other courses which are designed to provide leaders with advanced knowledge of various techniques, strategies, and tactics that will enable them to become more effective and successful in their chosen field of endeavor.
While all of these things can be helpful and can certainly help in one’s development as a leader, one should not limit such development to such activities.
Leadership Development Leads to Sustained Sucess
Leadership development leads to sustained success. This is because, without the continued development, leaders’ skills and techniques will begin to erode, and eventually cease to be effective.
In most organizations today, however, development is often seen as something that occurs only at the organization’s expense, when leaders need to hire a consultant or hire outside help to assist them in the process. Such actions are often viewed as unnecessary and unneeded, especially because development can be self-directed.
There are many leaders out there who have been successful without having spent any time on formal leadership development programs.
Individuals and organizations need to take a holistic approach to such development. After all, even the most dedicated individual can be caught behind schedule and unable to follow through with effective leadership training.
The leader needs to understand that the development of leaders should be seen as a lifelong process, rather than one that occurs during a short period of time. The process itself must be something worth continuing to do regularly.
Leadership development is also important because of its ability to provide leaders with several different advantages. For starters, it provides some advantages that are not available anymore.
In the past, most individuals and organizations invested heavily in extensive training and seminars. While these things are still beneficial, they do not allow for the kind of wide-ranging learning experience that comes from leadership training.
By contrast, leadership development allows for the sharing of many valuable lessons and experiences over again, with the possibility of a leader repeating some of those lessons many times during their career.
Also, leadership programs offer employees a way to help themselves grow professionally. This is a great thing for employees since self-reflection and improvement are vital to the success of an organization.
Leadership development is also a great opportunity for supervisors to get to know their own employees. By getting to know their employees on a more personal level, supervisors can better support them in their development.
It is also an excellent way for supervisors to let employees know where they are going wrong, as well as helping them improve areas where they need improvement.
Leadership development leads can be used to develop employees. Employees who participate in leadership development programs are much more likely to become effective and productive in their position.
Also, leadership development allows those who participate in the program to learn how to work with others effectively. The development of strong leaders is vital to the success of any organization since only the best leaders can lead their organizations successfully.
Developing Individual Leaders
Developing Individual Leaders, or Entrepreneurs for short is a concept that is becoming increasingly more important in the business world.
Business is about people and business development is all about people. And as I watch the small business entrepreneurs who enter the entrepreneurial arena, I am very encouraged. They are taking a big step in the right direction.
Entrepreneurs have the ability to think creatively and to apply advanced thinking when necessary. In fact, some of the most successful companies were not started by highly experienced individual leaders, but rather by a group of highly skilled and motivated entrepreneurs with exceptional leadership skills.
The business that eventually became Enron began as a group of amateurs with no prior vision, leadership development, or even clear-cut plans for their success. Yet they succeeded.
There are two basic tenets of successful business leadership development. Vision and a mission statement are fundamental to this effort.
Without a clearly defined purpose and a detailed action plan, it is extremely difficult to effectively build an organization with a high degree of organizational productivity and operational effectiveness.
It is also extremely difficult to motivate a group of individuals to do the same thing because, without a mission, there is no incentive to participate in the business.
Without a vision, however, it is very difficult to develop the kind of personalized expertise that is required to execute an effective leadership program.
A vision is not something that can be written on some piece of paper or typed on a computer screen. A vision is something that has meaning to the leader and the members of the organization.
One of the best ways to develop strong and effective leaders is to encourage team members to communicate their thoughts and opinions regularly. I call this “being a leader at a thought college.”
And, finally, developing a mission statement, or a mission statement for the business will take a little more work than simply having a vision. However, once the mission statement is established, it can be used as a starting point for determining the kind of activities and things to do that the company is going to do.
This is the most important part of developing a mission statement because the mission statement is essentially a short description of what the company does. As you can see, the mission statement is far more than a piece of text; it is an actual description of the business’s core competencies.
Are all of these steps and concepts confusing? I can assure you that they are not. The purpose of this article was to explain why some organizations fail to become successful while others succeed. If you would like additional information about how organizations develop successful leaders, please feel free to contact me.
Developing Leadership At A Collective Level
One of the primary focuses of leadership training programs is the development of a better sense of self. It is said that leaders are born not made and that leaders come from teams.
Developing leadership at a collective level requires that each individual in a leadership position understand his or her responsibility to the team. It is easier said than done. Often, leaders find it difficult to get individuals to see the need to develop team-building skills.
In fact, many leaders mistakenly believe that the team will come together without their involvement. On the contrary, many leaders know they need to get members involved and encourage them to participate as part of a team.
The way to do this is to acknowledge that the team has become unproductive without the input of the leader. Leaders need to be aware that the team and their activities are interdependent and that when one is not leading, the other needs to be leading.
Each member of a team should be encouraged to participate, but leaders must make sure they do not feel like they are being forced. This can create a sense of resentment among team members and this can cause problems for the entire team.
As a leader, a good leader does not view the need to lead as a means of controlling the team or its members. Rather, he or she views it as a means of encouraging the team to achieve better results.
There is also the matter of trust as a factor in gaining the respect of others. A good leader knows how to gain trust and can trust others. When the team is not led by a leader, members may lack confidence in the ability of that leader to effectively lead. Again, this is counterproductive to the achievement of the team’s goals.
Leaders learn how to better communicate with individuals and with each other. Good leaders know how to better explain concepts and work with people more efficiently.
They also learn to communicate expectations clearly to their followers. To have an effective leader, you must learn to communicate better. You must also learn to listen more than you talk.
Developing leadership development into your routine will help you get closer to the goals of your organization. When you make leadership development part of your daily routine, you will find that you are more effective, you are more appreciated, and you are more likely to actually lead.
The best leaders have learned how to make the most of their time and have put time aside just for themselves to develop their skills. They have found ways to relax and to take a deeper breath.
The Future of Leadership Development
The Future of Leadership Development is something that many people often ask me about. It seems that over the past ten or twenty years’ leadership development has gone through a dramatic transformation.
It used to be that organizations placed a much larger emphasis on being a team rather than individuals. This was good for the executives that ran the organizations, but it was also good for the individual employees who performed the tasks necessary to run the business.
As teams started to grow and became increasingly successful, it also became necessary to figure out how to train and improve the leaders so they too could become productive team players.
Over time leadership training and development programs have changed even more. Today many leaders are focused not on how to make the best leaders, but on how to get the best team of leaders to work together.
Many corporations have developed programs that allow employees to not only take an intensive training course and learn how to work together as a group but also provide their colleagues with similar training to create this powerful team concept.
This allows a company not only to improve productivity, but it allows its leaders to see that its employees really do have an impact on the company’s success. The leadership development program does not focus on creating leaders that are highly skilled in all aspects of the business, but rather focuses on making sure that employees understand what it takes to be a team player.
Developing a culture of trust and understanding within your team is also an important part of developing a team. In today’s business environment you must trust your employees to act responsibly.
If you don’t, your team will quickly begin to sense the tension between management and employee turnover. Trust needs to be there before any communication can take place.
By providing ongoing guidance and supervision based on your understanding of the dynamics of a good team, you will instill a sense of respect within your employees that will lead to great leadership development.
Teams that function effectively rely on leaders being capable of taking ownership over their own actions. Although this may not seem self-evident, leaders must realize that they have tremendous power and control over their individual actions.
By owning their position and knowing their place in the team, leaders can effectively empower others to follow their example. Having inner strength and confidence in yourself will allow you to become a leader without the need for public instruction or fear of criticism.
It is also important to remember that not all team members are on the same page with you. You must come to understand that sometimes different perspectives can and should be encouraged. Your role as a leader should not be to protect the status quo but to encourage innovation instead.
The bottom line is that your greatest victories occur when you are willing to listen to and learn from your team members. Leadership also requires leaders to be present in all phases of the team’s operations. Not only must you be vocal in your declarations of purpose but you should also make sure that you are present enough to model the kind of behavior you expect.
Effective leadership development allows you to recognize your own shortcomings and work to overcome them. You may discover that some of your team members possess characteristics that you are not comfortable having as a leader.
This can lead to productive dialogue within your organization. If you notice a negative behavior pattern in one of your team members, encourage the individual to consider whether the behavior is appropriate or not. Over time, the individual may become more comfortable working with you so that he or she can effectively contribute to the team’s growth and success.