Leadership Development in the corporate world02 Aug

An article written by Keith Coats of Tomorrow Today, prompted me to write this blog. Keith is brilliant in the field of leadership development. He is an insightful, well informed and creative developer of leadership development programs. He was expressing his frustrations at being limited in the application of his development process, by fearful clients who do not want to upset their principals or risk negative feedback from the trainees. I have stopped teaching leadership in organizations because of my frustrations at the interference of the client. How can we stretch minds and take people to a new level when the traditional, myopic and limited views of the clients are imposed on us. We go to a lot of effort to design a program with a specific desired outcome and then we are hijacked by the client. Then we are the scapegoats when the process doesn’t achieve its objectives. What is the point….why do they employ us in the first place if they have no faith in our knowledge as experts in our field.It is we, as consultants and researchers, who know what needs to be taught, because we have committed many hours of research and study to understand leadership challenges and how we can help our emerging leaders to grapple with them. Clients limit our ability to transform these leaders, because of their fear of change, their fear of being on the cutting edge, or perhaps more truthfully, their fear that they will not get return business or good performance reviews if the students don’t give good feedback. And students often don’t give good reviews when they are tasked with having to stretch, change and think. They like the training context where we fill their heads with facts and they don’t need to do anything but listen, and play on their smart phones whilst doing so. I prefer to write now……hopefully then some-one will listen and if I change just one client perspective with my writing, then I have achieved more than I could in a restrictive corporate development setting. If I can write to inform, expand mindsets, and to expose corporate clients involved in leadership development to the fact that there are new ways of thinking and that these new ways are the only ones that get results in this complex postmodern environment. Until we can achieve this, we will continue to churn out unimaginative, uncritical, non-thinking, ineffective ‘managers’ who operate under the guise of leaders. I will just keep writing in faith.

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Dr. Elaine Saunders – Industrial Psychologist

Phd in Leadership Development
Author of Assessing Human Competence
Specialising in online competency-based assessment tools, leadership development and performance counselling
Based in Sandton, Johannesburg

My key areas of intervention revolve around helping individuals to achieve their potential in the work context. To this end, my consulting practice comprises of three key applications which are related. These are the application of competency-based assessment in recruitment and leadership development, counselling as it pertains to performance, wellness and the recovery from trauma, and leadership development coaching.

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