Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Importance of Leadership Development

It’s easy to discount the importance of leadership development, assuming that corporate leaders either have what they take or they don’t and if they do they’ll learn as they go. If they don’t...well, if they didn’t have what it took they wouldn’t have been given a leadership role to begin with, right?

Not necessarily. Sometimes all that’s needed is a little leadership development.

There is no such thing as a natural born leader, which is why leadership development is so important. Anyone can have the fundamental requirements necessary for the leadership role. It’s how they develop them that matters.

Leadership development is defined as an effort to enhance a learner’s ability to lead, an endeavor focused on developing the leadership abilities and attitudes of the individuals sitting at the top of the chain of command. Successful leadership development requires a lot more than the ability to give orders. It also requires diplomacy, top of the line people skills, a certain level of ruthlessness and an understanding of how much space there is and there isn’t between the executive suite and the mail room. A good leader doesn’t just lead. He or she leads by example.

Leadership development within a company should be addressed at both the individual and group level. Individual leadership development can be undertaken in both a hands-on and a classroom environment, and which method your organization chooses is entirely up to you. Through various exercises the individual learns to identify their strengths and weaknesses, using both to shape and mold their successful leadership style.

Individual leadership development is very important for individuals first entering the field and those who are having a difficult time taking up the reins of command. Additional leadership development offers them the opportunity to hone their skills, smooth over their weaknesses and learn to make the most of their current position rather than finding themselves stuck on the bottom rung of the ladder to success because of a lack of knowledge and personal resources.

Group leadership development is absolutely vital in any company, regardless of industry, because it teaches an executive team how to look, think and act like a team. For a business to run smoothly it’s essential that the executive team be able to operate like a well oiled wheel, cognizant of each other’s patterns, strengths, weaknesses and goals and able to work together to achieve success. Any leadership team that is rapidly “slapped” together and tossed into the ring is going to fail almost instantly. It takes time and practice, and leadership development offers the opportunity for both.

Leadership development through books, activities, conferences and classroom studies is a vital part of any company’s success, which is why there are hundreds of books, seminars, conferences, workshops, boot camps and personal coaches devoted to that very goal. Never underestimate the importance of the team of people holding the reins in an organization, and don’t discount the need to allow those individuals to develop their leadership skills both inside and out of the office.

Leadership matters.


Guest writer Ray Subs is a public relations consultant forN2Growth, a company that specializes in helping businesses and their leaders grow and develop to find success in a competitive corporate environment. More information can be found at N2Growth.com.

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