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Home » Leadership

The First Thing Leaders need to know…

Submitted by on Wednesday, 15 June 2011No Comment

Companies in Thailand and Asia wanting to develop the competencies of their leaders usually look to leadership training as well as HR systems (such as competencies) as a solution.

Placing an emphasis on developing leaders makes sense in Asia, where human capabilities increasingly make the difference between a successful company or business unit and a dysfunctional one.

Companies need their managers to be able to collaborate, inspire, challenge, set direction, and encourage… all the traits of effective leadership.

With top talent in such short supply, companies that don’t offer leadership development opportunities, will either be left by their managers, or left behind by the competition.

Yet, so often, the leadership development programmes companies implement come unstuck. Why?

First, a step back…

All too often, those tasked with making decisions about leadership development are doing so in the midst of pressures. Pressures from colleagues… pressures from Head Office… pressures from the boss.

What then follows is a search for the easiest solution. But here’s the rub: the easiest solution isn’t always the most effective. In fact, many solutions in leadership development are not only ineffective – they can actually create great misunderstandings, and the greatest misunderstanding of them all in management is…

…We are all wired differently

The single greatest problem in management is understanding the nature of Talent. While the concept, on the face of it, is very simple, years of going through education systems that lead us to believe that we can be good at anything if we try hard enough, then comes to affect us when we expect that of others.

This leads into the debate – are leaders born or bred? The answer, unsurprisingly is both.

So central to leadership development is first gaining an understanding of a person’s innate leadership traits, for example:

  • is the manager naturally more tactical or strategic? (The latter being essential if creating a shared vision is important)
  • is the manager at heart a specialist or a generalist?
  • in which of four different styles does the manager approach problems?

Leadership Training in Thailand

Knowing me, knowing you

As Peter Drucker wrote over 40 years ago, most managers don’t know their strengths.

Since strengths are the building blocks of effective teamwork (and employee engagement with it), it makes the job of developing leaders very difficult if managers do not have that knowledge. It’s like trying to drive a car without knowing how to change gear.

Today, there is an easy way to discover an individual’s strengths (and talents) – more details can be found here.

Leadership = Strengths and Skills

To get out of the binary debate of leaders being born or made, research has shown that about a half of our traits are hardwired – that means they can’t be changed.

Of this half, managers need to know what their strengths are, and what their weaknesses are. Crucially, leaders need to learn how to identify this in their direct reports.

Leaders can then go about the task of, well, leading. They can play to their own strengths, and ensure their team members do so too.

But what about the skills of an effective leader?

This also has been researched, with input from over 40,000 personnel of over 50 different nationalities (including Thai) worldwide.

Those companies wanting to overcome the challenges of previous attempts at leadership development need only look at the world’s #1 leadership training programme, The Leadership Challenge. Full details can be found here…

Both discovering one’s individual leadership strengths and practising the skills of leadership are a sure-fire way of developing a reliable leadership pipeline in your company.


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