“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
– Warren Bennis
Today’s dynamic work environments place a high value on robust leadership. Identifying and developing potential leaders have, therefore, become core strategic objectives for sustainable growth. Nowadays, leaders have the choice to either constantly refresh their skill sets or risk themselves and their organizations lagging behind others who do, hence why leadership programs came to be. Nonetheless, the main challenges arise not in implementing a leadership program, but rather in the post-program phase, because the participants often revert back to their old habits and frames of mind. To address that, organizations should equip leaders with a set of tools that will help them alter their day-to-day behaviors for the purpose of building better habits whether on a personal or a team level.
To tackle such challenges, ighcc develops its leadership programs with the intention of imparting participants with knowledge that is both memorable and long lasting. The adopted approach aims to always attempt to invoke behavioral change and not just depend on knowledge transfer. At ighcc, we believe that leadership can be cultivated and developed but not manufactured; It is not defined by one single competency but rather by leadership themes of Purpose, Capacity, and Environment.
These themes are all-encompassing of what today’s modern leader needs in order to both succeed, and to inspire themselves and those around them. while also empowering their environment to maximize team cohesion and performance.
Below is a deep-dive into the three themes of leadership and why they have a long-lasting impact when adopted in leadership development programs:
1. Purpose: The sense of self which drives leaders forward and allows them to have a meaningful impact in what they do.
Leaders must develop the right mindsets based on introspection and self-awareness. Internal self-awareness is defined by how clearly we recognize our reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), values, passions and impact on others. On the other hand, external self-awareness represents our understanding of how other people view us in terms of those same factors.
Leaders who have a good sense of external self-awareness are more skilled at showing empathy. They are able to see themselves as their employees do and thus tend to have a better relationship with them and promote a more effective work environment. Furthermore, internal self awareness, when done correctly, can guide leaders towards a sense of purpose that springs from their identity and resonates with them. This type of self-awareness can be a result of deep introspection and following a series of questions that tackle a leader’s childhood experiences, life challenges and current passions. Once the purpose has been identified, the leader will have to set their purpose-to-impact plan by creating long-term and short-term objectives using the language of their purpose.
Knowing their purpose, whole-heartedly believing in it and setting the right purpose-to-impact goals and actions plans is what makes some leaders stand out and what puts them in the category of role-models. The journey is not simple, yet definitely worth the reflection and effort.
“Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us, un-played.”
—Oliver Wendell Holme
2. Capacity: Leaders both potentiate, and increase the capacity for development of those around them.
A successful leader knows that maximizing potential without a supporting cast that can keep everything in perspective is a zero-sum game. Potential must be supported by complementary pieces and challenged by other high-potential people to make it stronger. Regardless of the level of potential an employee has, it can remain hidden if not managed and nurtured correctly. A positively influential leader never lets any employee’s potential go unappreciated and unutilized. Recognizing potential to its fullest and allocating the right people in the right place requires breaking through barriers and creating new paradigms.
Today’s leaders are not simply searching for employees who can perform their jobs better, but rather those who have the passion to establish new standards along the way to enhance overall performance and productivity as well as wellbeing
3.Environment: Creating a space which fosters psychological safety, while also promoting personal and collective growth.
A commonly held belief among leaders is that psychological safety is automatically present among their employees, which might not necessarily be the case. Leaders can establish psychological safety by fostering the right environment, mindsets, and behaviors. Supportive leaders that promote psychological safety will help create a positive team environment. This involves expressing concern and support for people as employees as individuals. These behaviors also can encourage team members to support one another.
Every employee is different, with their own set of interests, values, experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs. The leaders who make a positive difference are those who recognize and appreciate these differences and know how to utilize them in the right manner. These leaders are supportive, self-aware, and have a clear sense of purpose.
Developing the behavioral skills that fall under these three leadership themes should be a carefully studied, contextualized and relevant experience. For that reason, ighcc aims to develop leadership programs that invoke behavioral change and do not merely rely on knowledge transfer.
It takes a true commitment and passion towards the purpose of helping people grow, to develop a leadership program that truly walks people through their own personal journey of:
- Finding the sense of self and purpose that drives them
- Developing the capacity of those around them
- Creating the ideal environment for psychological safety and sustainable growth