What Do We Expect From “Real” Leaders?

There’s
an entire industry built around Leadership. Graduate programs,
consulting businesses, workshops, seminars, books, DVD’s…I sometimes
wonder if it hasn’t become a cult in search of an idealized
organizational savior. If that’s the case for some, then the search
will continue indefinitely but the conversation will be wonderfully
angst-filled. “Most
people who want to get ahead do it backward. They think, ‘I’ll get a
bigger job, then I’ll learn how to be a leader.’ But showing leadership
skill is how you get the bigger job in the first place. Leadership
isn’t a position, it’s a process.”–John C. Maxwell Let’s Begin HereFor those seeking a realistic and practical approach to building leadership abilities, maybe we need to start by asking:1.
What do we really expect? This is based upon each organization’s
strategies, value system, and the ability to bring in “the right person
at the right time for the right leadership role.”2. Are we
willing to invest the time, money, and energy to build mature
leadership capability by purposefully putting people in positions of
leadership? Are we committed to making an investment in a process?3. If “yes,” how will we do that?4. If “no,” then are we willing to change our expectations and live with the results?If it’s about speed, it isn’t about maturityThe
business climate now is about speed, quarterly results, and change. It is almost impossible to
develop people’s abilities for the long run in the context of a single
organization’s culture and needs. When there was commitment to– and from–employees, you could track, train, develop,
and promote with longevity in mind. Companies had a sense of confidence
about an individual’s real capabilities because people had been tested
and observed in different situations over a long period of time. You
could assess, first hand, both skill and maturity under pressure.Perhaps many organizations aren’t developing for the “long run” but instead, for a specific shorter-term window.Leadership and the “Project Culture”With
so much job changing due to corporate change, downsizing, and personal goals, the
notion of a traditional “career” is all but dead in most industries. Maybe we
should get real and start to look at work life as a series of projects.
If so, then perhaps we’re looking to develop leaders whose strengths
include the ability to move in and out of new relationships and
situations as well as adept at gaining trust and unifying people under
those conditions.One thing I am sure of: You can’t microwave leaders and expect a 5-Star ExperienceLeaders can be developed. It seems to me that if we’re genuinely concerned with leader development, it may be time to
examine the validity of both our assumptions and expectations. _________________________________Update: Respected consultant and writer, Jackie Cameron, pointed me to a local example (Scotland) of someone who has stepped up and has exercised self-leadership in his early career search. His name is Antonio Greer.
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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.

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What Do We Expect From “Real” Leaders?

There’s

an entire industry built around Leadership. Graduate programs,

consulting businesses, workshops, seminars, books, DVD’s…I sometimes

wonder if it hasn’t become a cult in search of an idealized

organizational savior. If that’s the case for some, then the search

will continue indefinitely but the conversation will be wonderfully

angst-filled.

Most

people who want to get ahead do it backward. They think, ‘I’ll get a

bigger job, then I’ll learn how to be a leader.’ But showing leadership

skill is how you get the bigger job in the first place. Leadership

isn’t a position, it’s a process.” John C. Maxwell

Leadership-direction-development Let’s Begin Here

For those seeking a realistic and practical approach to building leadership abilities, maybe we need to start by asking:

1.

What do we really expect? This is based upon each organization’s

strategies, value system, and the ability to bring in “the right person

at the right time for the right leadership role.”

2. Are we

willing to invest the time, money, and energy to build mature

leadership capability by purposefully putting people in positions of

leadership? Are we committed to making an investment in a process?

3. If “yes,” how will we do that?

4. If “no,” then are we willing to change our expectations and live with the results?

If it’s about speed, it isn’t about maturity

The

business climate now is about speed, quarterly results, and change.

It is almost impossible to

develop people’s abilities for the long run in the context of a single

organization’s culture and needs. When there was commitment to– and from–employees, you could track, train, develop,

and promote with longevity in mind. Companies had a sense of confidence

about an individual’s real capabilities because people had been tested

and observed in different situations over a long period of time. You

could assess, first hand, both skill and maturity under pressure.

Perhaps many organizations aren’t developing for the “long run” but instead, for a specific shorter-term window.

Leadership and the “Project Culture”

With

so much job changing due to corporate change, downsizing, and personal goals, the

notion of a traditional “career” is all but dead in most industries. Maybe we

should get real and start to look at work life as a series of projects.

If so, then perhaps we’re looking to develop leaders whose strengths

include the ability to move in and out of new relationships and

situations as well as adept at gaining trust and unifying people under

those conditions.

One thing I am sure of: You can’t microwave leaders and expect a 5-Star Experience

Leaders can be developed. It seems to me that if we’re genuinely concerned with leader development, it may be time to

examine the validity of both our assumptions and expectations.


Link to original post

Avatar

Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.

Uncategorized

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