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How to cultivate leadership in your organisation

Leadership seems to be learned rather than taught. Any organisation desiring to cultivate leaders must provide the right amount of instruction in the right environment. Leadership requires chaos and independence to develop fully.

Successfully building a leader is a challenging endeavour. Attempting to develop multiple leaders in concert is exponentially more difficult. When an organisation determines that it needs leaders and not managers, it consciously decides to embark on radical change. Leaders are change agents and do not allow organisations to remain stagnant. By agreeing to train and develop leaders, the organisation is pledging to do away with the old ways and bring in the new.

The choice to develop leaders over managers must be weighed out carefully. Not every organisation should embark upon creating leaders. In most cases, developing competent managers should be the goal. A competent manager can increase the value of an organisation exponentially without embarking on radical change.Furthermore, creating leaders opposes the notion of radical egalitarianism by selecting individuals with above-average work ethic and IQ and promoting them to places of both competence and power. Whereas managers have a prescribed way of handling day-to-day activities and challenges, leaders must process complex situations quickly and make decisions without comprehensive plans to follow. The difference between using prescribed methods to manage and processing complex new information without a prescribed method necessitates discriminating between good and truly remarkable. A moderate work ethic and average IQ should not attempt radical change, especially in a large and complex organisation.

Read Also: How transformational leadership impacts organisational culture

This article offers a relatively simple method for initiating the development of leaders. This strategic method gives organisations direction on cultivating leaders while cultivating attributes tailored to benefit their long-term goals. Leaders are not made quickly: some even argue whether leadership can be taught at all. This method allows potential leaders the opportunity and environment to grow their skills into competencies that would best serve the organisation’s strategic aims. The process is as follows:

i. Create a learning environment

ii. Search and identify the right kind of person(s)

iii. School and train the person(s)

Creating a Learning Environment

An environment that promotes dissent and free thought is ideal for training leaders. However, the culture that arises from such an environment must be carefully watched. Culture results from a collective approach to interactions within an environment; therefore, the prime environment for cultivating leaders is often filled with chaos and change. Some of the most outstanding leaders in history arose in such chaotic environments, not the least of whichwas Napoleon. Chaotic environments often draw out those with the requisite leadership talents and help mature their leadership abilities to be utilised.

In addition, chaotic environments force leaders to self-differentiate themselves from the environment and search for an optimal solution. Leaders may be identified in such environments because the disarray causes them to understand how they interact with the situation and how it is different, the same, and opposed to themselves. When groupthink and agreeableness thrive, leaders cannot be created or improved.

So, how do you create a learning environment in your organisation? The following steps are the requirements for creating a learning environment.

Step One: Establishing Group Values

The values of the new culture should tend toward progress and attempting the unknown. Values are described as an inclination orpreference for a particular state of being. Prime leadership environments should cultivate the desire for adventure within those who are a part of its culture. In addition, there must be a certain amount of peer pressure involved to push people to engage with uncertainty and learn to make the unknown or uncertain both known and certain. Leadership is about adventure.

Other values that the organisation would like to instill should be promoted: however, they must be careful not to promote mutually exclusive values. For example, assertiveness and agreeableness tend to be mutually exclusive. A better pairing might be self-reliance and environmentalism or collectivism with industry. The values promoted should have the ability to work together naturally, without necessitating forced binding. When values do not work well together, one value will eventually drop, or leaders will perform sub-optimally.

There will always be opposing forces pulling leaders toward safety and adventure. The key is to make sure that the values instilled do not create excessive amounts of cognitive dissonance. Leaders need to be pushed toward experience during their time in development. By creating a set of leadership values that are consistent and work well together, aspiring leaders will have less cognitive dissonance. They will therefore be mentally free to engage in leadership success.

Do look out for a continuation of this article.

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