THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
1ST PERSON YOU LEAD IS YOURSELF
There is a certain exotic ring to the term "leadership development". As a concept, it is quite common, but as a process it is difficult to nail down.; it is quite slippery. As a process, there is an element of mystique about it.
The process of leadership development has both formal and informal , intentional and unintentional dimensions to it. Formal or intentional ways of leadership development includes leadership courses, workshops and seminars. Informal ways of leadership development includes our early family environment, the quality of our schooling, or perhaps the influence of an interested teacher or sports coach. Intentional dimensions includes challenging jobs, stretch assignments or key community roles.
For some people growth comes in unintentional ways; those life experiences which are forced upon us and which we may not choose to experience. These could include the loss of a loved one, divorce of parents or self, loss of financial income, or even participation in a war or time in prison. These unchosen, unwanted experiences could be key defining periods on our growth journeys; these are make or break periods. Growth occurs as the person is able to adapt and master these challenging situations - known as crucibles. A crucible is a defining period where the need for self-leadership is heightened as a focused and often creative response to the situation is required. It is a deeply self-defining period in one's leadership growth. Some people do not only survive, but thrive through the crucible. Others do not.
" I would argue that more leaders have been made by accident, circumstances, sheer grit, and willpower than have been made by all the leadership courses put together"
Crucibles could be of a personal or an organizational nature. Organizational transformations, takeovers or mergers could require a degree of self-leadership beyond the norm. In this way, life may tap you on the shoulder, may ask you to pay your dues on your leadership journey. This period will demand courage, risk-taking and digging deep into your personal reserves.
Another form of unintentional leadership growth could be when your world suddenly opens up. Growth opportunities abound, key values are reinforced, people and/or organizations are generous towards you. This could be a number of factors lining up positively for you. In South Africa the major political, social and economic changes over the last 20 years have resulted in a paradigm shift in which many new leaders have and are arising in all spheres of life.
NATURE OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Life without growth and development is stagnation.The capacity to embrace personal change is a key capability for leadership development. Leadership development is a far more complex and indeed mysterious process compared to the comparatively simple process of leadership training. Leadership development includes many factors which needs to be integrated in a transformative, developmental wholistic shift. Key dimensions include positive role models, the cementing of key values , cultivating growth habits, and experiencing valuable feedback. Leadership development is a unique and individualized path for each individual. The journey can be one of beauty and creativity as you travel towards a more authentic you, experiencing an increasing sense of alignment in the different areas of your life.
" leadership is a choice, a choice to know ourselves, to know others, to act, moment to moment, as ourselves. In this way, with each choice, we become the kind of person and leader we want to be"
For the first few blogs of this blogspot, I will post on the theme"
"Leadership lessons from the life of Sir Alex Ferguson"
The world will never see the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson again . The combination of factors which shaped him to be the unique manager that he was for so long cannot be replicated. We can thus learn many lessons from his leadership career and I invite you to travel with me on this journey.