Developing Individual Leaders

(based on information extracted from the web)

Just as people are not all born with the ability or desire to play soccer like Lionel Messi or sing like Adele, people are not all born with the ability to lead.

This highlighted paragraph is an important thing to take into consideration when developing a leader. Leadership has to be based on candidate’s potential.

Here it is some basic information gather in the web on leadership development. I believe that the most difficult part of developing a leader is making an initial assessment of the potential of the individual to be a leader. Like the initial paragraph says, there are traits in individuals that show potential, not everyone is born to lead. When assessing potential candidates we can be wrong that’s why here are some characteristics we can look for when developing individuals for leadership positions. So selecting the right candidates, those individuals that show the highest potential to lead well is key in the process on the developing them.

Personal characteristics that are associated with successful leadership development include:

Motivation to learn. An individual with this characteristic is a person open to new learning processes, capable of assimilate advise and direction. It’s an individual not settle in his/her ways but open to new experiences. The desire of learning new things is higher than the fear of change. This takes us to the second trait

Openness to experience: It’s an individual capable to evaluate and learn from experience. The fear of changes is low but the evaluation and critic of own experiences is high.

Internal focus of control: It has a personal compass on expectation and direction. It’s comfortable in establishing dialogue with his/her guts and feelings as indicators of the surrounding reality. The personal control is highly connected to comfort with him/herself.

Once a candidate is identify start the development plan. Leadership development requires formalized plans or programs for developing leadership competencies. Classroom-style training and associated reading is effective in helping leaders to know more about what is involved in leading well. However, knowing what to do and doing what you know are two very different outcomes. That’s why is important to take into consideration exposure when developing leadership in individuals.

Among key concepts in leadership development one may find:

Experiential learning: positioning the individual in the focus of the learning process, going through the four stages of experiential learning as formulated by David A. Kolb: 1. concrete experience; 2. observation and reflection; 3. forming abstract concept; 4. testing in new situations. Development of an individual is associated to the ‘Individual learner characteristics”.

Self efficacy: The right training and coaching should bring about ‘Self efficacy’ in the trainee, as Albert Bandura formulated: A person’s belief about his capabilities to produce effects. The quality and nature of the leadership development program or plan in place and the coaching will position the person to be self-efficient and directed.

Visioning: Developing the ability to formulate a clear image of the aspired future of an organization unit.

Development is also more likely to occur when the design of the development program:

  • Integrates a range of developmental experiences over a set period of time (e.g. 6–12 months). These experiences may include 360 degree feedback, experiential classroom style programs, business school style coursework, executive coaching, reflective journaling, mentoring and more.
  • Involve goal setting, following an assessment of key developmental needs and then evaluate the achievement of goals after a given time period.

A good personal leadership development program should enable you to develop a plan that helps you gain essential leadership skills required for roles across a wide spectrum from a youth environment to the corporate world. These characteristics include:

  • Taking responsibility
  • Gaining focus
  • Developing life purpose
  • Starting action immediately
  • Developing effective and achievable goals and dreams.

When an individual is ready to lead, you will have a person who has vision, takes the initiative, and shows the way.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. -John Maxwell