Leadership development has most often been based on an externalized approach. People take courses or go to workshops that instruct them on the desirable characteristics, or qualities, of leaders and how they should act. Moreover, training has relied to some extent on old assumptions about leadership. In particular, the “heroic” approach to leadership (i.e., the strong individual leader) still prevails in many areas of leadership development. It’s the old model of problem solving and decision making, the executive functioning of the CEO.
It is only recently that a growing portion of the literature is concentrating on leadership development from the inside out. That is to say, getting people in formal or informal leadership positions to take a hard look at themselves. “Who am I as a leader? Why do I behave as I do?” are questions that we need to periodically ask ourselves. When we pose these questions, it takes us to a deeper level of inquiry and reflection.
The Santa Fe Leadership Center has, for the past four years, focused its approach more on the internal than the external aspects of leadership development. It is my belief that E.Q. trumps I.Q. any day of the week. Not that intelligence is any less needed, because working smarter instead of harder is still much to be desired. http://www.santafelead.org
The recent, rather extensive research conducted by IBM that looked at some 1700 CEO’s in 64 different countries representing 18 different industries shows some interesting trends. The major challenge of these executives used to be managing change. That has shifted to managing complexity. One of the more striking findings to me was that these executives did not feel prepared to deal with the enormous changes in the world as they are experiencing it.
Just as important is the way these leaders engage with their employees and the organizational attributes they focus on to draw out the best in their workforce. Those attributes are ethics and values (65%), a collaborative environment (63%) and purpose and mission (58%).
According to the 2012 study, it seems that productivity in almost any organization is now more rooted in empowering employees through values rather than through quotas or some other quantifiable measure, through engaging constituents (customers) as individuals rather than as numbers and amplifying innovation through partnerships rather than going it alone.
The question is how are you getting the best from your colleagues in your own work place? What are you focused on? Are you satisfied with the results? If not, why not and what can you change to get a different outcome. If you are satisfied, how long do you think you can sustain that level of satisfaction and how do you plan to do it?