Globally, leadership development receives prime focus and priority. We need leaders in every sphere of activities, business or profession. But, we always face dearth of true leaders. Innumerable professional companies around the world have developed leadership training and development programs. Many Corporates have done a good job to develop their in-house programs. Some have as many as 10 to 12 leadership training or course for every potential employee.
How effective these programs are?
What current leadership programs do?
Based upon extensive study and observations, as also my own participation, the contents of current leadership programs, by and large, can be summarized as:
- Define leadership.
- Highlight importance of leadership.
- Illustrations by case studies and examples.
- Use some form of model/s to evaluate your leadership trait or style.
- What you are, as a leader?
Analysis of your strengths and weaknesses
- What you should be?
- What you should do to be an effective leader? (not all; but some programs)
- Company’s financial performance and management processes, in case of in-house programs.
General feedback from participants of programs
Over last several years, I have received feedback from hundreds of participants, which is cataloged in brief:
- Participants feel excited to attend such programs, on the premise that they are either being perceived as leaders or have prospects to become.
- Since they are hand-picked for programs; so there is hype.
- Generally, they like the course contents.
- Results of models or methods used to evaluate “what are their leadership traits or qualities” are often at variance with participants’ own beliefs.
Many times, these models declare those as leaders, who are actually not, simply because they were able to answer various questions correctly!
- Invariably, at the end of program, there is Euphoria among participants.
- But, most participating people are unable to fathom what they need to do next, how to proceed further and graduate to leadership!
- Within few weeks, they realize that the course has created additional information for them; but no inspiration to change.
- It has been often seen that some people are already leadership material, in any case. Such programs do a good job for them; give a further direction and ideas to hone their leadership skills.
However, majority of people or employees are beginners, they require seeds of leadership to be sown now, need guidance and grooming. This is where, most of current programs fail.
Where Leaders and Leadership programs go wrong
So, what are the real issues or gaps?
- Most leaders or coaches delivering such programs, focus only on –
“What you are and what you should be?”
- Mainly, the programs aim at-
- Elaborating examples; but do not explain how to evolve and excel.
- Showing models; but not suggesting methods to get there.
- Creating images (of leadership instances); but not imagination and inspiration to change.
- Majority of such initiatives do not focus on-
“How one could cultivate leadership traits or qualities or styles?”
- Many coaches tend to conclude that-
- Traits of an individual cannot be changed; one has to live with those!
- We can take horse to a well; but can’t make him to drink water.
What we need to do?
- Pave the way for paradigm shift.
- Rip and restructure current leadership programs/initiatives.
- Embark on coaching how leadership traits or style are formed and formatted.
It is Individual’s Ideas –>Behavior –> Trait or Style
- Leadership is not contingent on 1 or 2 qualities/skills; but a set of those. All of those need to be identified, included and inculcated (in the new program).
- After SWOT analysis, each individual would need customized prescription what he/she needs to do to bring a change and get there.
- Curtail leadership programs to few; focus and follow.
- Make these few as primary programs, follow each of these up with secondary programs to revisit how much primary one has made a difference and brought improvements.
In case of unsatisfactory progress, change individual’s prescription, as needed.
- Drop the notion that it is enough to bring Horse to a well; you need to make him conscious of the need to drink water to Survive, Succeed and Shine!
You can then expect a new and nice Breed of Leaders