I have always said that leaders are not born but made and developed. It takes a process and a mindset to become a leader and an effective one at that. Everyone may desire to become a leader but only a few are actually willing to pay the price required. Sometimes it requires sacrifice and lots of patience before the fruits will begin to be seen. A leader is one who leads, who shows the way. Leaders have certain unique characteristics and traits that make them stand out. The process of becoming a leader does not start in a day but a lot of input is made by the individuals involved.
For individuals who aspire to become leaders, it would take training, study and observation and a lot of dedication, commitment and focus. On the other hand, organisations can also put in place a process for leadership development among its employees. This can take various forms such as training, mentorship programmes and the provision of incentives to encourage them.
I shall be examining some leadership development training activities which individuals and organisations can adopt to enable them build a vibrant leadership structure and a crop of committed leaders.
Benefits of Leadership Development TrainingThese are some benefits of leadership training for individuals and organisations who may be interested in trying this out.
1. It helps to bring all leaders in the various departments or units in the organisation together to
forge a common front for growth and increased productivity. When all these people come together and work for the good of the employer, things change faster and organisational goals are easier to be achieved. When training is providing for this level of leadership, it has more impact and enables each individual department to collaborate easily with each other.
2. Change can be effected easily with the provision of training for this level of leadership. Most times, when change is brought into an environment, it is usually resisted by employees for one reason or the other but adopting the top to down approach would help leaders understand it better and drive it among their subordinates and team members.
3. Another benefit of leadership development training is to enable leaders train those who work with them. It empowers them with the knowledge, skill and strategy to be able to influence their team members effectively.
4. This type of training also enables leaders in these departments learn more about their leadership styles and strategies which they can adopt to build members of their team. The leadership development training programme should not only focus on one aspect of the individual's life but try to balance their personal and work life.
5. It helps to build resilience in leaders that will enable them face the challenges and pressures of being a leader.
Leadership Development Training ActivitiesThese are some leadership development training activities developed by Tom Siebold, a writer and consultant in Minneapolis.
1. Stand by your quote
The objective of this activity is to help introduce a discussion and awareness about leadership.
Activity Description: You can leave thoughtful quotes on leadership on the walls and allow a lot of space between them and ensure that the print is very bold. Let the quotes be different.
You can ask the participants to move away from their chairs and walk round the room while reading the quotes on the wall. They will be required to stand by any quote that aligns with their views about the qualities of a good leader. When they have all selected a quote, each person can be asked to explain to the class why they chose that particular quote and possibly share some leadership insight from it.
You can pick some key ideas with which to discuss further or to develop additional content.
2. Leadership Calendar
The objective of this activity is to extend learning about leadership beyond the classroom.
Activity Description: Participants can be
asked to highlight 12 separate days on the calendar spread over 4 or 6 months. At the end of each of the highlighted days, they are asked to write down leadership behaviours which they exhibited on that day. They would be required to provide information on how they felt about their behaviour and how that behaviour relates with the best practices in leadership that they are aware of. On each of those days, they can send their comments on this to a partner that is selected. It helps in accountability and feedback.
3. Swapping Leadership
The objective of this activity is to exchange leadership ideas.
Activity Description: Participants can be divided into 3 groups. Using the leadership situations below, ask the various groups to give examples of something they have done in the past with examples.
- An emotional situation
- A blind side experience
- A tough situation
- A breakthrough solution
- A resolved conflict
- An event which generated a lot of excitement
- An aha moment
- A pleasant surprise
- A creative twist or situation
4. Leaders that you admire
The objective of this activity is to seek leadership characteristics through personal experience.
Activity Description: Participants can be divided into small groups. Each person is then asked to share a personal story about an encounter with their best or most influential leader. After each person has spoken, identify leadership characteristics by asking them their opinion of what made that person an effective leader. The group can then discuss the traits which each of those leaders share.
5. Leadership Dance Card
The objective of this activity is to help participants to discuss best practices in leadership.
Activity Description: Participants are told that each leader has their own style which may or may not work for them. Participants are asked to put the names of 3 other persons on their 'interview dance cards'. They would be allowed to conduct a leadership interview with their 'dance partners' whom they would ask some questions that are provided by the facilitator. Some questions that can be used include:
- How do you motivate your team?
- How do you keep members of your team informed?
- How do you maintain the focus of your team on specific goals?
- How do you set, clarify and hold your team members accountable?
- How do you appreciate good work?
The facilitator can ask the participants to share leadership tips and strategies that they might have picked up from their interviews.