How do Leaders Develop?

The number of books published on Leadership each year in Amazon is over 2000. It is no coincidence that once again we are in search of the Leader….

The Leader is currently in a dilemma, in crisis, and eventually in … confusion.

To make the equation even more complicated, apart from Leaders, we ALSO seek Managers with Leadership Abilities and Skills within organizations. Really, where does the Manager stop and where does the Leader start? Bottom line, is the Leader made or born? And what is more dangerous, a bad Manager with great Leadership Abilities or a bad Leader with great Management Skills?

There is no absolute and unequivocal answer and if we had discovered it it would show across the spectrum of our society, from the political world to Organizations.

The Economist published in June 2011 a different approach to discovering what makes a Leader, which was provocatively titled «The angel and the monster» and compared a star of the music scene, Lady Gaga with … Mother Teresa. Contrary to what one might imagine, their similarities are far greater than their differences and the writers focused precisely on those similarities. Both had / have the following approach towards the ‘public’, which they as summarize and call

«Leadership projection» or simply “charisma.” To begin with, they say a “personal story” (who am I?) and they do not hesitate to expose themselves. Secondly, they say a “collective story”, and strive to create a collective identity (who we?). And finally, they declare a “collective mission” (where are we going?). Both have the ability to create an “emotional commitment” towards their readers and those who follow them.

Much more recently another leader was added to the list of expert analysis – the late Steve Jobs. He has come under the microscope of all the scholars who try to analyze each one of his characteristics, behaviors, strangenesses, and create «The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs» (Harvard Business Review, April 2012).

Leadership is not only about managing to get a group of people to do something, but managing to make them WANT to do this thing. Through its influence, Leadership involves the formation of beliefs, desires, priorities. We have something to learn from every theory and what is certain is that, especially during this period, due to changes on a global level we will witness new and completely different styles of leadership. Within this context, it will be necessary to re-evaluate not only how we define leadership within our organizations, but even more pressing is the need to figure out HOW we develop our Leaders and Leadership Abilities and Skills of our people. One thing is certain…. That the situation has changed. Have YOU?


Article written by Nikos Floros, CFR Global Executive Search Greece

Photo source: Pixabay


Share this article: