Introduction to Leadership Development
Leadership development entails nurturing, encouraging, incubating, and mentoring prospective leaders. In many organizations, the HR department in conjunction with senior management identifies potential leaders or fast trackers who are capable and ensures that they are motivated and encouraged to give their best. This form of mentoring and coaching of future leaders happens through organizational commitment to their development that includes sending them to specialized training programs, making them attend targeted workshops, and taking them to resorts and getaways with the express purpose of ensuring that these prospective leaders get all the encouragement and strategies to groom them into senior level positions.
It needs to be remembered that leadership development is not only about the organizational need for grooming prospective leaders but also to do with the candidates themselves showing the inclination and the aptitude to be groomed as leaders.
The point here is that leadership development is a two-way process that is symbiotic with both the organization and the candidate showing interest in mutual success. Only when both sides are keen on helping each other grow can true organizational development take place. This is the case with organizations like Infosys, Sony, and IBM, Fidelity etc where potential leaders are identified early on in their careers and given the necessary backing for them to blossom as true leaders. It needs to be mentioned that leadership in the current turbulent business landscape is a combination of traits and vision and hence potential leaders ought to have that rare combination of business acumen and risk taking along with visionary ideas with integrity. Integrity has been mentioned along with the rest as the financial crisis of 2008 proved that business leaders without integrity are a burden to the organization. Hence, these traits should be spotted and then adequate environmental support given so that leaders are groomed appropriately.
Leadership development is as much about traits as it is with experience and this is where the role of the mentors appears. Existing senior management leaders can help potential leaders perform better and give them tips and insights into how the business world operates so that they have an idea about how they have to respond to tricky and thorny issues. The point about real world experience is that many potential leaders might have the necessary traits and ambition but lack the insights into what makes for a successful leader in the real world. This is where the experience of the senior leaders in organizations helps as they can provide valuable guidance to the potential leaders on how to address tricky real world problems.
Finally, leadership development entails commitment, patience, and skill and unless the potential leaders are committed to stay with the organization for an extended period, there is no point in grooming them. Though many organizations have moved away from making the employees sign bonds, they still groom only those employees who have been with them for a while and who, in their estimation, are going to stick with the company for a longer term.
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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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