Leadership never operates in a vacuum. There are always leaders and then there are always leaders in the making. Companies operate and rely heavily on the wisdom, experience and tenacity that leaders bring to the table. And it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that this trend must continue for the greater good of the company and all its employees. But spotting a candidate that is ‘leadership material’ and than investing and grooming him or her for such a role is easier said than done. This is primarily what Leadership Training are for – to train and equip managers in their respective departments with the right tools to help identify, assess and groom candidates that have the potential to be leaders in order to fill the void that their predecessors will someday leave. So what does this process look like? Here are three key questions that managers must ask themselves before they begin:
• Does the candidate have the essential competencies to be a leader? In other words, does he have what it takes? It is important that this potential candidate have not only the qualifications or knowledge but also the fundamental understanding of key concepts, facts and dynamics as they exist within the business.
• Does the candidate have the commitment to be a leader? While it may be true that they have great ambition or desire to be a leader, are they prepared to put in the hard work, perseverance and durability to not only survive through tough times but in fact thrive in it? Leaders need to have the ability to ‘weather the storm’ when the going gets tough. This is a foundational aspect of leadership skills training.
• Lastly does the candidate have the character to not only be a good leader but even a better leader? Do they have the principles and values necessary to help them lead their team or company with honesty and integrity? And will this character stay consistent during times of stress or challenge? Character is ultimately the foundation upon which the leader must stand. This is crucial to organizational leadership.
Leadership Programs are constantly in the process of fine-tuning individuals with the skills necessary to identify and develop talent. For more info on how this is done, please refer to the following article:What It Takes To Be A Successful Business Leader
Being a leadership coach I often have the privilege to be in the presence of future leaders. There is one question that I ask in every session, “Who is the leader that you emulate?” I get answers like, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and disappointingly………… Hitler. It happens session after session.
Regardless of how consistently it happens, it still saddens me to think that mankind can see something remarkable in a human like Hitler. It takes me a while to re-center myself but after I do, I ask a simple question, “Are you aware of how Hitler died?” There is a pregnant silence after which they say, “Suicide.”
“Leadership is action, not position.” – Donald H. McGannon
After this awareness is created, the participants always reconsider their stance that Hitler is a leader to be emulated. I heave a sigh of relief; there is hope for mankind ………..
Being a leader is about asking the tough questions – it is not about providing the answers but it is about the asking the questions that stimulate thinking. It is about knowing that your opinions go through continuous change as you enhance your awareness and learning through your journey in life.
“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” – David R. Gergen
This story is an example of why we emphasize in our leadership training that courage is a non-negotiable for leaders.
This scene is set in Chinnakkalpet on the southeast coast of India on December 26th 2004. Unsuspecting fishermen were returning with their daily catch, their kids playing along the shore while their mothers got to their daily chores. Little did they realize that the sea was going to embrace them all, in one giant leap, in a short while.
At 8.30am the Tsunami struck with a vengeance.
Dinakaran was the oldest of three children; he was 7 years old. His parents felt that he had the greatest chance for survival independently so they gathered up their two younger children and ran to safety. But the wave was too high and too quick for Dinakaran. Before he knew it he was being dragged into the depths of the sea. He tried to grab at the shrubs and the trees as the water pulled him with great force. He was exhausted and he resigned to death when suddenly he felt a bite on his shorts which penetrated into his skin. He thought it was a tree stump but for some reason it stemmed his flow into the sea. When he looked down to his utter amazement he noticed that he was being dragged back to the shore. His guardian angel was his dog, Selvakumar.
“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” – Sally Koch
Do we have the courage that Selva displayed? Do we handle situations with always the thought, “What is in it for me?” Can we display the selflessness that this animal showed in rescuing his friend?”
Selva teaches us to do what we shy away from doing most of the time – to help without expectations. While we race to compete and excel in our lives, it is important that we pause for a second and lend a helping hand to those in need. We would be living in a better world if only we could criticize less, ridicule less, mock less and help more.
“The hands that help are far better than the lips that pray.” – Robert Green Ingersol
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- Essentials of any Leadership Training Program
On December 1, 1955, when a White person got into the bus, Rosa Parks, a 42 year old Black woman refused to give up her seat at the front of the bus and move to the back. Today the action seems simple but not in 1955, when black people were treated like slaves and second class citizens by the white people. This action created a major uproar and Rosa Parks was put in jail overnight. When in jail, she got up to get herself a glass of water and she was informed by the jail warden that the water fountain was only for white people. This was the straw that broke Rosa Parks’ back. She decided that she would do what it took, even at the risk of losing her own life, to attain liberty for Black people from this oppressive situation. She joined forces with Martin Luther King and was one of the key people responsible for the Civil Rights Movement which released the Black people to a life of freedom.
Now what would prompt a woman who was a seamstress in a local department store to take a brave stance of this magnitude? I think that she had a clear vision for success that was propelled by her passion. “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” John Maxwell quotes.
What Rosa Parks did was not an act that was planned with a specific personal objective. In fact, what she did was spontaneous, triggered by her quest for equality and her rejection of racial discrimination. The loss of a job or even the loss of her life didn’t deter her from continuing her quest for equality. Leadership takes courage – courage to step out of one’s comfort zone and explore unknown territory. Rosa Parks did just that.
Are you willing to constantly challenge yourself to go beyond what you think you are capable of?
Follow your dreams!