What is Leadership
Leadership is one of the most required areas of expertise development in the business arena of the 21st century. It is also one of the most misunderstood and stereotyped areas. Hence, Leadership Development is crucial in organizations. Leadership has been thought to come from within. It has been labelled as an authoritative approach. It has also been known to be annotated by elusive charisma and machismo. Leadership has also been confused with a leading role. It is considered to be the autocratic delegation and merciless supervision within organizations.
Some of this imagery is true. But it is inherently one dimensional. Leadership is a holistic concept. It is as fluid and as multiple as the number of unique personalities that exist. Leadership, is more often than not a mindset. It is the impetus that propels people to achieve heights of success by leading others to fulfill their potential. But leadership is not a one-size fits all concept. Leadership should be tailored in direct connection with the people, situation and institution concerned.
Authors like Clinton Sidle, Ram Charon, Brian Tracey and many others have mapped out many different types of leadership styles and processes. From servant leadership to strategic leadership; there are different types that not only suit different people but are also particular to the circumstances and contexts.
Roots of Leadership
Leadership has a root in the word leaden, which traces itself back to before the 900’s in old English. It roughly translates ‘as to travel’ or ‘to go on a journey’. It is then connected with other words that mean to conduct or to guide. So in essence, a leader is a traveler a voyager who guides people. This root description is especially apt for the leaders in today’s organizations. They are individuals who can see more before the individuals in their teams. They are people who can make the vision, which is audacious to start with, tangible. Leaders of today are primarily action oriented visionaries.
Leadership development is the approach to develop the skill sets and competency clusters of individuals in Leadership roles. There are certain skill sets that can be augmented and developed over time. Leadership development is the method through which people are brought up to speed with the changing times and fast-paced technology so that they could make strategically sound decisions and gather people together under the banner of a singular cause that pushes them to work towards a vision which is made tangible by that leader.
When it comes to the debate of leaders being born or made? Stephen Covey, very aptly, puts that debate to rest:
“Are Leaders born or made? This is a false dichotomy- leaders are neither born nor made. Leaders choose to be leaders.”
It all boils down to the choice that we make, to the decisions. We can decide to be a leader but that is a useless decision in itself if we also do not substantiate that decision by attitude, behavior and results.
It is believed that the latter is much more characteristic of a leader than behavior or attitude. What is a leader without results? And that is very much true but it is a very one-dimensional imagery.Leadership development begins with Personal Excellence. To become a leader, one has to know themselves fully. This entails knowing the triggers that lead to certain reactions and behaviors, being hyper aware of the strengths and weaknesses that one possesses, making efforts to rectify behavior so that actions result in changed outcomes, to name a few. There are many other areas that an aspiring leader should focus on but two of the most important are vision and empathy. Other values and characteristics, more often than not cascade from these two areas.Leadership behaviors or characteristics also include emotional intelligence; about the self and others. Because Training Impact deals with making people leaders who are humans first and spearheading a group, company or organization second, we consider emotional intelligence as one of the key factors that differentiates between influential leaders from those who simply sit at the top.
The main focus of leadership development, as per the research of our Trainers and Research Staff, is the creation and continuation of a talent pipeline, to develop and drive a strategy of change, developing a culture that is conducive to the values that the company holds dear and creating a more socially and ethically responsible organization.
Now leadership development is something that even though undertaken by the management of a company, would be of no use until or unless the individuals concerned have a mindset that accepts the changes and developments that leadership behaviors bring.
Our Leadership Development Program
Our trainers provides thoroughly researched and focused customer interventions when it comes to the leadership development and leadership pipelines. Since leadership development is such a vast area, Training Impact focuses on specific areas that are the requirements and directly relevant to the needs and contexts of the organization in question.
Since, leadership behaviors have a lower rate of embedded when just taught in an instructional manner, Our Training Programs use the method of Experiential Learning. The individuals in our programs are put into simulations and activities that reveal their behaviors in stressful or trying situations. Their behaviors and actions are minutely observed and cataloged to be discussed in detail in the powerful debriefs at the end of the activity along with the outcomes of their participation in the simulation.
The simulations are designed on the principles of gratification; such that each activity has the thrill and rewards of games but has a purpose of Learning and Development. Furthermore, it is made sure that everyone has a leader and a follower role so that there is some control on the sort of experience that is absorbed by everyone.
Learning through experience has been lauded as the most effective way of learning that has long term and lasting impact. Because people will be engaged in actions and behaviors themselves, they will learn through their own practice. Since doing is the most effective way of learning. In terms of leadership development courses, many fail in inculcating leadership behaviors, because the minds and bodies of the individuals are disassociated with the actual happenings. You cannot learn to be a leader in a passive classroom. Leadership development requires a hands-on approach so that the individuals re-apply those learned behaviors in the setting of their workplace. The biology of the brain also supports Experiential Learning. If one only hears about leadership behaviors and actions, does some worksheets on them; the intellectual part of the brain understands those but the emotive part of the brain that more often than not induces action and reaction does not register them unless they are associated with self-induced actions, attitudes and behaviors. Our Training Programs in the arena of leadership development are based on the understanding that the human brain and body should be in sync to learn for the long-term.
Further, our Trainers are seasoned professionals who do not just give training but engage with organizations before administering the training. They go into the company, like organizational psychologists, and have Need Scanning Meetings with the participants. The in-depth questions asked scan the context of the company and root out the issues, problems and dilemmas that are faced. Some or all the participants are also engaged in the meetings so that the program is tailored with activities and segments that deal with the individual as well as collective learning needs of the individuals.
Then a customized leadership development intervention is presented to the company that does not merely start and end with the program itself. It is a holistic approach that is presented for the complete demented of a leadership culture, formation of a strategic leadership based SMT or a leadership development pipeline, to name a few interventions conducted.Training Impact not only provides the companies that approach us with training workshops, indoor and/or outdoor but complete OD solutions for the long-term perpetuation of leaders.
Because we believe that leaders could be made with experience, effort and goal setting to achieve excellence.