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Leadership Development for Success

In today's highly competitive world, there is a lot of pressure on leaders to create highly productive organizations. To be successful with this task, leaders will need all of the talent, skills, techniques, and experience they can muster through leadership development. The pressure to succeed can create a real dilemma: whether to 'manage' people or to 'lead' people. At CMOE, we maintain that in order to achieve high levels of employee engagement and morale, people in authority must learn how to show others the way, be a 'lighthouse,' rather than to 'railroad' people into compliance by telling, commanding, or controlling them. Respected leaders easily gain loyalty and mutual agreement with their followers (loyalty demanded is loyalty denied).


Leaders who earn the respect and commitment of their followers demonstrate qualities and characteristics that run deeper than leadership skills, techniques, and knowledge alone. Effective leaders lead by example and exhibit their true character consistently. This in turn causes people to voluntarily support an organization's mission and purpose. They know that leadership is a privilege. It means you have to consistently do the right thing for the right reasons. Good leadership is an inner choice. It is character based. Good leaders will give your organization a competitive edge; bogus leadership, on the other hand, will cost you in critical times when you need the support of followers the most.


There are basically three kinds of leaders in organizations today: unsuccessful ones, those who are occasionally successful, and those who consistently maintain the commitment of followers on a long term basis. The third type requires an understanding of the finer qualities of leadership, character, and values. Character based leadership cannot be achieved by arrogant or power-hungry managers who choose to intimidate others. Sometimes those in authority feel driven to be overly aggressive, take short cuts, and do what is expedient versus doing what is right. Others will make a 'Wall Street driven' decision that is not focused on the long term well being of stockholders, customers, or employees.


In CMOE's leadership training, we acquaint participants with (or reaffirm) the fundamental qualities and characteristics leaders need to possess. For example, in our leadership development training, we examine the quality of courage. Leaders will always be required to make the right decisions and manage dilemmas. They must also take risks and at times withstand the ridicule from others. Courage is the strength to choose and stand for the right course of action. Leaders will experience failure (the great teacher), and leaders must respond courageously to failure and take responsibility. Owning up to a failed action, learning from it, and adjusting your course is a courageous act. Giving someone bad news, confronting a sensitive conflict, and giving feedback to others takes skill, tact, and most definitely courage. Courage can only come from deep within one's being. In CMOE's leadership development, we help leaders improve or strengthen this characteristic.


It is this courage that distinguishes great leaders from those who have skills but don't convert their knowledge to proper actions and decisions. Courage, rather than power, position, or techniques, defines great leadership.


Leadership without character will eventually create 'motivation fall out.' Without genuine leadership, people will not set up and contribute their talents and energy. If they feel manipulated with 'slick' techniques they will withdraw their support and loyalty. In our leadership development curriculum, we connect leaders with qualities like:


  • Inclusiveness / Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Accessibility & Humility
  • Credibility

This is a time when we need leaders and members alike who can move forward, think positively, and act creatively. Character based leadership provides the foundation for building skills and confidence.

About the Author


Steven J. Stowell, Ph.D, is the co-founder of the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness.

For more information about CMOE's 30 years of experience in leadership development, call toll free at 1-888-262-2499.



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