Key Leadership Ingredients


There are three key ingredients that when properly combined affect leadership development.

There are three key ingredients that when properly combined affect leadership development.

The first is the raw material itself. An individual's intelligence, physical and emotional health, energy level, and personality will all play a part in the kind of leader he or she becomes.

The second is the context in which they are developed. Some leaders develop better through quiet, one-on-one coaching. Other leaders learn through trial and error, working through demanding leadership challenges while being encouraged from the sidelines.

The third is the person doing the development. Ultimately, a mentor can only teach what she already knows.

Just like a cooking show, the result of leadership development is determined by how the mentor uses the ingredients in a given context. A shy leader may need quiet supportive coaching. If he is trained by a mentor who believes in trial-by-fire, the leader won't grow much. Likewise, if the developing leader thrives on challenges but doesn't have hands-on opportunities to practice his new skills, he will not reach his full potential.

Developing and mentoring leaders is like teaching babies to walk. First, the parents help them stand on their own without falling down. Once the baby has mastered standing, the parents move a few feet away and encourage the baby to take a step. Eventually the parents move across the room and entice them to come. If babies get started in the wrong directions, parents turn them around. When it appears the babies might run into obstacles, parents rush to protect them. And, of course, a good parent always picks the baby up when she falls and helps her start over again. It takes time for babies to learn to walk, and it takes time for leaders to develop their skills. It is a learning process that continues. There is no such thing as a fully developed leader. It's a myth.


(Taken in part from: What's Shakin' Your Ladder? by Dr. Sam Chand)

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