January 31, 2012

Creating Excellent Leaders

Today, marked the start of the Leadership and Excellence module which I was personally really looking forward to attend. The class excercise really made it pretty evident as to why leadership is indeed a very difficult field to teach anyone. You cannot make leaders by asking them to read some theories on it and just abide by certain 'rules' in certain situations. Leadership is something that you get when you are actually asked to come into a situation where you have to lead a certain group of people. The class excercise resulted in all of us coming to a conclusion different from each other. This really made me wonder how different are the psycologies of people in comparison to each other. And if people are so different from each other, it is just not possible to treat each and everyone alike. Different set of values and beliefs exist for each of us and the job of the leader is to identify the unique personality of each individual and how to motivate him and get to align his vision with the one of himself. As Paul puts it, it is very important to know just the right buttons for each individual in order to get his focus and motivation up and make him see the vision the leader himself has in mind.

It was a very big lesson for me as I aspire to be a manager in a business in India after the completion of this course and the fact that you need to treat and deal with everyone on an individual basis is a very important. Every employee will perceive you in a different manner and to come with the terms of them is the real challenge. It would be upto me to identify different personalities and motivate them to achieve the goal I will have for the organization. As a leader, it becomes very important for you to make sure that everyone is on the same thinking lines and is working towards the same common goal. Also, it gives me an insight in to the fact that if I say someting or any of my actions may have different impacts on people and it is not really the inability of the employee to understand me in the way I want them to, it is just the fact that each of us is different and it should be in my capacity to make sure that I get my point across to each of them.

In addition today's class brought out a very important point that a person aspiring to be a leader or wanting others to see him as a leader, should have a leader like ''appereance'' as well. Even though it may not be a very important characteristic, nevertheless, it makes it easier fo you to convince people about your leadership capabilities and potrays an image in other's mind which makes them take you seriously.

Lastly, a very important lesson learned was to understand the impacts a person have when he uses his positional power as a leader and when he uses his personal power. Using the positional power cannot motivate the employee to gives his all for the vision/goal, the employee just tries and do enough so as he is not picked upon by his leader. However, a personal or a born leader can really motivate an employee to give his all for the organizaion and makes him feel important which makes the employee give more than the 100%. This is very important for me as it allows me to focus on the personal level leadership from now only as this is the real deal which really motivates people. Anyone can develop positional leadership skills if he is at a good post, however developing personal level leadership is very essential as this is the thing that ties your emplyees with you in a trustworthy relation and gives them the incentive and motivation to give all of his knowledge and skills to the organization.

The first day itself brought out so many lessons that it has really inspired me to give my full attention to the module. But more than the lessons, it has raised so many questions in my mind like can someone develop leadership skills? Am I a good leader? To what extent is gaining experience important before becoming a leader in a partical field? What is a leader? What are the charcteristics of a good leader and many more. I hope to get some kind of an answer to them till the end of module as I am sure there is no definite answer to any of these.

- 3 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Oritseweyinmi Barber

    “Can someone develop leadership skills”?

    I think that comes to the nature vs nurture debate.

    My opinion? Some people are naturally born with certain traits that give them an edge or at least certainly better potential to become good leaders. When such people are fortunate enough to be able to learn in an environment where these traits are developed and in addition pick up complimentary skills, they can turn out to be exceptional leaders.

    For those not born with such traits? I am one of the people who believes that leadership skills can be learnt and the traits developed over time if a person is committed to acquiring them.

    31 Jan 2012, 20:30

  2. Fotini Savva

    Well, some general knowledge about leadership might be learned from people who want to be leaders! However, I believe is not that easy to understand people and make them follow you towards your vision. You need some personality characteristics which are developed throughout your whole life. Your experiences and your personal contribution to your environment which will help you mature and develop such skills.

    For example, imagine a person from a really rich family, never worked in his life, his parents always protected him, they send him to the best schools in his country, he learned about leadership but he never came in touch with people, sit and have a conversation with them, hear their problems etc…. Will he develop those shills? Will he influence you? If yes then he still needs a lot of work in building relationships, stop being mom’s and dad’s boy and face reality which is not hidden inside the books but in experience. Additionally, imagine leaders in wars… Did they taught to exercise leadership skills or were the circumstances that make them become leaders?

    I saw the movie called “Braveheard” based on real historical events. In brief, Scotland was under the British occupation and the leading actor who wanted to leave a peaceful and calm live becomes the leader who drives the whole nation with him to a series of fights and wars on the name of freedom…. Did that person had the chance to learn about leadership or were the circumstances and/or a set of stimuli he was getting from the environment that made him become a leader???

    01 Feb 2012, 17:47

  3. Manav Gupta

    Yeah, I understand what you both are saying. I guess this is what is my perception is till now as well. That a person can learn about leadership by reading the traits of a leader, really life examples and all that. But in reality it can only help him till an extent. Gaining knowledge about leadership doesnt result in you becoming a leader, it just provides you an insight is to what really leadership is and can give you a path, however it is upto you till what extent you can apply these things in your life or career. Like no can really teach you the practical bit. You may know about what leadership is (which in itself is very complicated), but no one can tell you how you can really apply it in your life. It is all dependent on you how you develop as a leader and inspire your vision in others. Some are born with these traits and dont need to learn it. They know how to get their thoughts and vision across to people and make them understand how it an be useful to hem, however others who are not ’’born leaders’’ can only learn these through experience and trying to practice in the real life. This is what I feel about leadership till now after attending the module thus far.

    02 Feb 2012, 01:40

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