Leadership is a Choice™
What makes a great leader? Think about the leaders that have had a positive impact on you, the qualities he or she had, and what he or she said or did that touched you. Leading means that you have a clear vision that inspires you, and you can express in your own way or style those leadership qualities. Once that spark has been ignited inside, you can build the foundation to influence others as an individual contributor, or as a manager.
The Leadership is a Choice™ process is more leadership development than skill training. It emphasizes bringing out and utilizing your own internal qualities as a leader more than gathering information that would sit in a reference binder on your shelf. In this process, leadership capabilities consist of both new behaviors and eliciting your own personal identity as a leader.
There are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders. They are:
1. Trait Theory
Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. This is the Trait Theory. Some traits make it easier, but those “born with it” still have to choose. Many “born with it” never make the choice.
2. Great Events Theory
A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person. This is the “Great Events Theory”. Some circumstances help leaders become leaders. Often when a crisis shows up leaders will show up also. When the San Francisco earthquake happened in 1989 many people became leaders because of the dire circumstances. Every community has examples of a crises occurring and individuals stepping up their leadership. The challenge is once the crisis dissipates so will the leadership competency. It wasn’t sustainable because leadership showed up not out of a choice but out of circumstance.
3. Choice Theory
People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. This is the “Leadership is a Choice™ Theory”. What you choose is up to you, but making a declaration of personal commitment will help hold you accountable for the choice you are making. You first have to choose to be a leader in your own life before you can effectively lead others. The empowering thing is that you don’t have to manage others to be a leader. There are many great leaders throughout history and within corporations who are individual contributors. Our work on Leadership is based on the “Leadership is a Choice™ Theory”.
A company’s culture is its competitive strategic advantage: you can duplicate technologies, you can replicate processes, but a culture is almost impossible to recreate. Our Leadership is a Choice™ development process is designed to help you create your ideal corporate culture. It sets into motion the kinds of values and behaviors that create a high performance team.
Management and leadership training programs traditionally emphasize giving people information about outer skills. Skills in relationships, coaching, negotiations, presentations, decision-making, organizational learning and more can be described easily in terms of content and sequence. The difficulty with direct behavioral training in outer leadership skills is this: Behavioral training does not guarantee using the skills naturally or with wisdom. Because of this, executives have rightfully judged that many approaches to leadership training and development are poor investments. To address this issue, we have listened to our clients and used their feedback to develop a process that works.
When we help you develop a Leadership competency, it is more about development than training. It emphasizes bringing out your capabilities more than putting in information. In our approach, leadership capabilities consist of both outer and inner capabilities. What are the inner capabilities that bring about leadership? When we look underneath effective outer leadership skills, we find many inner capabilities. Among them a deeply held values approach, personal integrity, the ability to blend logical thinking with intuition, be a catalyst, be a visionary and empathize with others as you mentor and coach them. By starting with these inner capabilities, learning becomes natural and fun, and team members learn to wield these powerful skills with wisdom. When accessed, developed, and used together, these inner capabilities help intuitive leadership wisdom surface in any role for any situation.
Is our process a quick-fix approach? Yes and no. Developing a leadership competency requires commitment and sustained, disciplined learning. It requires consistent practice in accessing your deeply held values and using inner and outer leadership capabilities. And yet, with our technology of accelerated learning, you’ll enjoy immediate results.
Great teams occur where there is a team of leaders. A good team structure is one in which the elements "hang together" because they continually affect each other over time and operate toward a common purpose.
Creating a Leadership is a Choice™ approach that encourages learning is the primary task of leadership and perhaps the only way that a leader can genuinely influence or inspire others. The rate at which a team learns to lead together may be the only thing that will give them a sustainable competitive advantage in the future. Leadership Development is not a program but an ongoing process that you use to transform your organization’s leadership potential.
Like a snowball gathering momentum as it rolls down a hill, your organization will start to become an organization of leaders because you will have started to transform the culture. Your executive team will be leading the way for every member of the organization to lead themselves.
"Creating a Leadership Development approach that encourages learning is the primary task of leadership, and perhaps the only way that a leader can genuinely influence or inspire others. The rate at which a team learns to lead together may be the only thing that will give them a sustainable competitive advantage in the future."