Effective Strategies- Leadership Development

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Leadership is not for leaders only; organizations are focusing on leadership development programs and it’s a challenge for management. We have with us Dr. Rakshita Shharma; she is sharing her thoughts on challenges and effective strategies for leadership development for better results. 

Dr. Rakshita Shharma has over 27 years experience as an HR Professional; Strategic HR Operations Leader & Business Partner reinvigorating, HR through cultural transformation and innovative processes. She has shaped Talent & Organizational culture in major multinational corporations, developed executable HR strategies for achieving organizational vision & business results and contributed to the financial growth by delivering learning & talent management solutions, she has done MA –Psychology from  and Ph.D –Organizational behaviors. Dr. Rakshita has worked with companies like Jubilant Organosys, Watson Wyatt, Zydus Cadila and BG Group, her last assignment was with Ingersoll Rand as Head-Talent & Organizational Culture. Currently she is independent advisor to startup companies.

Q- Organizations are focusing on developing their leaders. How do you see leadership development in current scenario?

Current scenario of Leadership development is highly challenging as the organizational climate, market predictability, technological advances etc are moving at a very rapid pace.

  • The environment has changed and is more complex, volatile, and unpredictable.
  • The skills needed for leadership have also changed—more complex and adaptive thinking abilities are needed to cope with rapid changes
  • The methods being used to develop leaders have not changed, the college education remains similar providing the same tools and techniques that doesn’t help leaders to equip themselves to meet the challenges
  • Leaders are developed today using traditional tools such as on-the-job experiences, training, and coaching/ mentoring; while these are all still important, leaders are no longer developing fast enough or in the right ways to match the new environment
  • In additional today’s work environment has many different challenges based on the
  • information overload
  • the interconnectedness of systems and business communities
  • the dissolving of traditional organizational boundaries
  • new technologies that disrupt old work practices
  • the different values and expectations of new generations entering the workplace
  • increased globalization leading to the need to lead across cultures

Q-What are the key initiatives which can help organizations in developing their leaders? What are the biggest challenges you see in leadership development?

Traditional methods that most of the organizations adopt are as below

  • Trainings
  • Job Assignments
  • Action Learning
  • Executive Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • 360-Degree Feedback

While most of the matured organizations today have a well-defined leadership competency model and training plans to develop leaders as per the same. All the above tools are used within the framework of existing competency models but there are many new and effective models that provide an insight to leadership development that is presently missing. Some of the comments from a study done by Center of Creative leadership will give some insight to rot in the present method.

  • “Competencies: they become either overwhelming in number or incredibly generic. If you have nothing in place they are okay, but their use nearly always comes to a bad end.”
  • “Competencies–they don’t add value.”
  • “Competency models as the sole method for developing people. It is only one aspect and their application has been done to death.”
  • “Competencies, especially for developing senior leaders. They are probably still okay for newer managers.”
  • “Static individual competencies. We are better to think about meta-competencies such as learning agility and self-awareness.”

Q-What are your suggestions to overcome these challenges in leadership development?

“While leadership development involves developing various behavioral competencies / functional competencies / business skills there are some key aspects of leadership which has been overlooked for a very long time.”

Masonry of Leadership foundation is around two key stones, Intellect & Intuition (I&I). Today’s leadership models mainly focus on capabilities and competencies but do they all contribute towards developing a sharp intellect and intuition of a wise leader. In our daily life and at work we all come across managers / people who have a unique capability of taking good decisions based on meagre information provided. Are the endowed with some special powers that give them an intuition that is correct most of the time? There are many new models and methodologies that is being developed to help such capabilities. One such model I would to mention is based on developmental model from Smart to Wise. This model provides a path to evolve from a smart leader to a wise leader through the practice of six key capabilities and it also provides a methodology to score leadership on scale of wisdom assessment and smart assessment.

Many organizations now are challenged with leaders not portraying basic values and ethics which impacts the organization’s in the short term and long term. Initially, leadership qualities were basically divided into two areas:  IQ (intelligence quotient) which describes the person’s level of intellect or mental ability; and EQ (emotional quotient) which describes the individual’s degree of emotional maturity and strength.  More recently, another silo of qualities has also come to be seen as essential to leadership.  This is called SQ or Spiritual Quotient.  A person’s spiritual quotient is not related at all to the person’s religion or religious beliefs.  The Spiritual Quotient looks at a person’s ability to be creative, insightful, courageous, wise, authentic, compassionate, and peaceful, among a host of other traits. Organizations should look at the IQ-EQ-SQ trifecta to develop visionary and successful leaders.

To quote Stephen Covey on difference of Management and Leadership, “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”.

Thank you Dr. Rakshita!

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