Leadership development is improving the qualities of leadership. This can be achieved by Planned and systematic efforts (Groves, 2007 cited in Amagoh, 2009). Leadership development programme is similar to the learning organization concept which focus on facilitating change, empowerment, knowledge sharing, opportunities for learning & development and promotes leadership development. (Amagoh, 2009)
Nowadays companies struggle with leadership development. They send the top performing employees to attend few leadership development workshops & seminars and expect the participants to be the leaders in a week or so. This does not work as expected since personals have different characteristics and abilities. National wide financial have found four kinds of people who engage in this type of development programmes. They are reluctant leaders who have all the necessary skills to be a manager but not confident that they would be effective leaders. Second type is arrogant leaders who believe they have all the leadership skills but lack those skills. Third category is unknown leaders who have the right leadership skills but since they are not good at developing relationship, they fail to be selected as effective leaders. Finally the workaholics which we come across very often (Griffin, 2004).
In my individual leadership development programme I have to first identify myself among the four types. Even though occasionally I have played the role of a leader, it makes me to think whether I could be in a leader's position of an organization? This more sounds like a reluctant leader. Initializing the development programme can be based on major leadership traits, which are intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability.
Studies found that leaders have higher intelligence compare to non-leaders (Zaccaro, Kemp and Bader, 2004, cited in Northouse, 2007). Intelligence helps in solving the critical problems effectively. I believe intelligence partly come from birth and partly by continuously involved in activities which could boost it. This can also be acquired by observation.
This is one area which I focus to improve that in turn will help in chairing an organization. Leadership is all about influencing the followers in order to achieve the vision. Self-confidence is necessary to assure that the way leader influence is appropriate.
This includes initiative, persistence, dominance and drive (Northouse, 2007, p. 20). Determination will direct the followers in a desirable path in order to achieve the vision.
This refers to honesty and trustworthiness. Developing the integrity skills will enable confidence in others, which in turn enables delegation, and thereby followers feel ownership and motivated.
Leader's one of the main tasks is to develop and maintain relationships within and outside the organization. Therefore, skills such as being friendly, outgoing, courteous, tactful and handling issues diplomatically are essential to be an effective leaders.
Stevens, (n.d. p.42) says "managers wear square hats and learn through training. Leaders wear sombreros and opt for education". Some of the learning through education to become an effective leader are understating, generating ideas, questioning, looking for processes rather than content, initiating strategies, long term focus, risk taking, open minded, skill of imagination, etcâ€¦ therefore the leadership development programme should highlight the above aspects.
Bennis, (2009,) says on becoming a leader the first thing is to identify is "knowing yourself". He has also identified four lessons of self-knowledge (Bennis, 2009, p.52)
You are your own best teacher
Accept responsibility. Blame no one
You can learn anything you want to learn
True understanding comes from reflecting on your experience
I would say the basic mantras for me to become a leader will be the above four lessons. I would also use integrated solution approach and some other common senses.
Integrated solution approach
This includes eight steps (Weiss and Molinaro, 2006, cited in Amagoh, 2009).
Developing a comprehensive strategy for development
Designing the development activities according to organizational and global challenges. For example, compare to the earlier days the social interaction among different nationalities are a must in order to perform as an effective leader. Being in Dubai, in a routine basis we would meet around 180 nationalities where each of them are different.
According to Bennis (n.d., cited in The emirates center for strategic studies and research, 2002) the new leadership should understand and practice the power of appreciation, keep remind the people of what is important and generate & sustain trust.
Use the leadership stories. This is one of the excellent learning which I consider. Reading and understanding different leaderships styles and world-class leaders way of leading will help in enhancing the skills of leadership.
Understanding both global and local individuals needs.
Using emergent design and implementation will also enable development.
Understanding the culture.
Focusing on critical moments of leadership life cycle.
Applying a mix of methodology will enable development.
On top of the above, importance have to be given for personal growth, understanding the concepts, learning through feedbacks and mistakes, skill building, etcâ€¦ will also enable development (Allen and Hartman, 2008, cited in Amagoh, 2009).
In answering, "How would you know it was effective", I would say if the leadership effectiveness is achieved, it is obvious that leadership development plan was effective. And on the other hand we should also understand leadership development is not one time learning rather it is an ongoing learning process. Therefore, any inefficiencies or neglected skills once identified can be learned. The way we do business around the globe has changed in past dramatically and it is also evidence that the change is continuing. To cope up with the challenging dynamic world leaders has to continuously sharpen their skills. One of the example which I would quote is the professional organizations like CIMA (UK) and ACCA (UK) have introduced programmes called CPD (continuing professional development) to keep members connected with the current and changing world.
Leadership effectiveness can be defined as successfully influencing followers in order to achieve the organizational vision (Vardiman et al, 2006; Bodinson, 2005 cited in Amagoh, 2009). Effective leadership is one of the competitive advantages of an organization. In addition, the effective leader determines the organizational performance and growth who are expected to establish vision and strategies, maintain relationship and manage change in order to ensure the organizational growth and survival within the competitors.
In conclusion, leadership development programme has to be designed by considering various aspects and skills needed to be an effective leader. In addition, continues progress monitoring and identifying lacking skills will enable to plan the next step of the development programme. We should also understand and accept the fact leadership development is not a one time learning but it is a lifelong learning.