Professional leadership development requires conscious and deliberate steps to make it effective. It is important to develop people in every profession to become leaders who can drive the vision of the organization and lead others to accomplish it. Without a proper plan being put in place, we would find that capable and qualified leaders would not be able to fit in properly into leadership.
The success of any organization to a very large extent lies on the type of leader driving the vision. These individuals should be identified early and enabled to develop their professional leadership qualities.
Skills required for effective Professional Leadership1. Good communication skills are required from leaders at every level. This is a very important skill needed in developing professional leadership. They should be able to communicate using a variety of options such as team meetings, emails, Skype, blogs.
2. Leaders should possess the ability to motivate others to action by being able to influence them and not by force.
3. Leaders must be risk takers and should be courageous.
4. Leaders must have vision and passion to drive it. A leader with a vision is able to see the future of the organization and is able to communicate it to those following him. They must also be strategic by applying.
5. They should have good analytical and critical thinking skills.
6. They should
proficient in the use of technology.
7. Leaders should be innovators.
8. They should be able to build good relationships professionally and with others. This takes time and patience and makes for effective leadership.
There are various professional leadership development theories that help to identify and develop the right type of leaders to lead others and to fit into particular leadership positions. I shall be examining the following:
Traits TheoryThis is also known as dispositional theory and helps us understand the personality of an individual. It studies individual human personality. The trait theory suggests that there are inherent qualities that individuals possess which help to determine if they can become effective leaders or not. These traits are most times classified into four categories, which are:
- A leader should be able to see the big picture and avoid focusing on small issues.
- A leader should have strong interpersonal skills and be able to communicate effectively without applying force.
- A leader should be able to admit mistakes and not cover them up. He should also not put blames on others but take responsibility.
- A leader should be emotionally stable in times of stress. He should be calm and confident at all times.
Under this theory, there are cardinal traits which are said to dominate and shape the behavior of the individual. These may include a desire for wealth and to be famous. They are also referred to as dominant passions. We also have the central traits which include traits of integrity and honesty. There are also the secondary traits which individuals exhibit only on rare occasions. The trait theory
Contingency TheoriesIn terms of professional leadership development, this theory state that the style a leaders adopts is dependent on the particular situation at hand or a function of different contingencies. It emphasizes the need for a leader to adopt different leadership styles depending on the needs and the demands of a particular situation. The situation may be internal or external. Internal contingencies may include: demographics - age, sex, seniority, management level, output and traditional while the external are economic, legal, environmental and technological. In one of the theories, the style of leadership is dependent on level of trust that employees had in the leader and the particular task being performed. It also
states that the style is also determined by the degree of influence the leader has over his employees. The other theory places the focus on the employees and not the leader. It states that when the employees do not follow, there can be no leader. It focuses on whether the leader is task-oriented and a builder of relationships.
Emotional IntelligenceThis theory as it applies to professional leadership development states that emotional intelligence is a more important factor than intellectual intelligence in leadership. It is described as the ability of a leader to manage feelings and know how to express them appropriately. Such a leader understands their strengths and weaknesses; are able to exercise self control and adapt well to changing situations. They understand how to care for others and respond to them in the right manner. Such leaders also know and are good at build great teams and resolving conflict situations.
Emotional Intelligence enables the leader to understand and manage their emotions and those of others who are around them. Leaders who have developed this are able to understand their own feelings and what their emotions mean. They also know how these emotions affect others. For successful professional leadership development, it is an important factor. It helps leaders to stay in control and assess situations properly. A popular American Psychologist, Daniel Goleman stated that there are five elements of emotional intelligence which are: self awareness, social skills, empathy, motivation and self regulation.
Servant-LeaderThe servant-leader theory postulated by Robert Greenleaf holds that successful and effective leaders are those who serve their people. These type of leaders give attention to the needs of those that follow them. It is different from the other approaches adopted in leadership, and places emphasis on trust, ethics, empathy and collaboration. The leader should be motivated to serve others and not seek self promotion. He or she must first of all be servant and focus on meeting the needs and desires of his followers. This style of professional leadership helps to improve team building and leads to improved productivity. Several other theorists have listed some other characteristics required of a servant-leader to include: commitment to growing others, persuasion, awareness, listening, empathy, stewardship. The leader should also not focus only on the needs of employees at the expense of the needs of the organization.
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