Leadership development is a broad term which encompasses various activities that make sure that one becomes a better leader either as a person or as an organization. Being a broad term, there are various ways in which leadership development can be enhanced and sometimes institutions of higher learning offer leadership development as a course. This paper focuses on all about leadership development and the purpose served by leadership development.
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Leaders born or made
The debate on whether leaders are born or made is one that has been ongoing for a long time. While there may not have been a consensus regarding these issues, there is an agreement that people may be born with leadership traits but these traits must be carefully nurtured to ensure that one becomes a good leader and this is the concern of leadership development. There are two issues about inborn leadership traits; one is that one may born with a leadership trait which the individual may recognize but have the need to be carefully trained to know how to use his leadership abilities in the right. For other people, they may have the in borne traits of leadership in them but they may not even be aware of their potential.
Enhancing Leadership Development
Some of the traits we have as individuals can work to hinder our leadership abilities even we have the potential to become effective leaders (Lawson, 2009, p.124). It is for this reason that programs have been formulated to ensure that leadership competencies are developed and to the highest possible level. For one to fully achieve their potential as a leader they must not only take a keen focus on the programs offered but also take practice on a regular basis and persistence to ensure consistency is also key.
When one is learning to enhance leadership skills through leadership development, this pretty much likened to learning how to play a new instrument (Ryan, 2005, p.312). The persistence and consistency that is required to ensure that one does not forget what they learnt previously is the same kind of spirit and attitude that is needed in leadership development.
The classroom kind of training that people go through is meant to assist in gaining a better understanding of what good and effective entails. Henry Mintzberg an expert in management has however pointed out that there exists a dilemma between having the knowledge of doing what is right and getting oneself to do it (Russel, 2005, p.135). This is actually one of the biggest problems that has continued to bite many countries and institutions in terms of leadership.
Usually what ought to be done and what is normally done in practice when it comes to leadership always differ with leaders failing to do what they ought to do despite the fact they are aware of what they should do. It is because of this reason that classroom training alone does not produce much in terms of helping people improve their leadership skills. Researches indicate it is only a small percentage of about 15% of those who undergo leadership development training classes show signs of improvement in their leadership skills.
Experts in the field of leadership of development argue that there are three main determining factors which play a significant role in determining whether one will become a good leader. The first factor is the character traits of an individual. As already mentioned, there are some traits that an individual may have which may tend to hamper or hinder him from effectively developing his leadership skills even when they have the potential of leadership.
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The other determining factor is the kind of leadership development programs being offered in terms of their nature as well as quality. How expansive and integrated the programs being offered are will determine whether or not it will be effective in helping develop the level of leadership. The other key factor is that is the kind of support the supervisor is giving to the learner. Just like any other aspect of learning, it is very important for the supervisor to constantly encourage the learner because leadership is not just about the mastery of the art bit also constant practice that is carefully guided.
Purpose of Studying Leadership Development
It is of great importance for students to study leadership development for a couple of reasons. To start with, studying leadership development is aligned in focusing on the abilities and skills that are necessary for one to become successful as a leader. Therefore, a student who studies leadership management is able to learn what leadership management is all about and the challenges that one he is likely to encounter as a leader (Northouse, 2009, p.345).
The purpose of the course is therefore to ensure that students are well prepared to hold positions of great responsibility that come with leadership and especially in organizations of areas of specialization that students are studying in institutions of higher learning.
Leadership development also helps learners’ proficiency in management and especially in their specific disciplines of study (Avolio, 2005, p.34). Studying Leadership development also help to better reinforce the understanding that a learner has about responsibility especially in the social context as well good understanding of ethics. This course also trains to learn to work effectively with teams because leadership about teamwork.
As a leader, you cannot work solely and expect to succeed. Even if you are the one leading and in control and in charge of all aspects, you must ensure that your followers are indeed with you and in agreement. Leadership development also helps one know how to deal with conflicts that may arise. Having an analytical and critical mind to be able to look at pertinent issues critically and analytically is also a characteristic that good leaders must possesses and therefore leadership training also offers this kind of training.
Goals achieved in this course
The assignments and in class assignments offered in this class have been very relevant in helping the students learn in greater depths about leadership development (London, 2002, p.156). Some of the goals I have achieved in this course is that I have learnt how to solve conflict that a leader may encounter. I have also learnt how to work well within a team this being the corner stone of any good leadership. I have learnt how to deal with different people regardless of their diversity in their points. Being also to be analytical in a critical manner is yet another aspect that I have learnt from this course
Leadership development is an essential element especially in the modern world where many young people in institutions of higher learning are hoping to clear school and become managers and leaders of institutions. It therefore becomes important to ensure that the young people are well trained so that they are well able to handle the positions of leadership given to them without disappointing the society.
Avolio, B. (2005). Leadership development in balance: born/made. London: Routledge.
Lawson, K. (2009). Leadership development basics. California: ASTD.
London, M. (2002). Leadership development: paths to self-insight and professional growth. York: Elsevier.
Northouse, P. (2009). Leadership: theory and practice. London: Sage.
Russel, L. (2005). Leadership and development. California: ASTD.
Ryan, R. (2007). Leadership Management: A guide for HR and training professionals. New York: Elsevier.