Leadership of an organization that pursues great achievements must sustain and defend guidelines leading to constant training for its leaders, comprising several areas of leadership. Training the leaders of an organization is a process that should be implemented not only as a set of theoretical activities, but also by means of practical tasks. In the following, we will expand on 7 keypoints or principles that should be taken into account for the training of business leaders.
1. Knowing rights and duties
When you train a staff, the first thing you should teach is that leaders start by knowing their rights and duties within the organization. Teach them their rights, that will give them confidence in the organization and a sense of belonging. Besides, point out their duties, what the organization expects from them, their responsibilities. Take into account that leaders will utterly fail conducting an organization unless they perceive that their work will be rewarded. Your leaders must understand that leadership requires:
- monitoring several activities
- ensuring excellence
- solving problems
- making suggestions
- controlling programs
- following agendas
- promoting ideas
- defending organizational values
among other things requiring constant effort and dedication. This is why it is absolutely important to convey the leaders the value they have for the organization, the importance of their work, and the reward they can receive for their work. Leaders have to demonstrate passion and dedication. Motivation and perseverance are also at the core of leadership.
Knowing their duties will also allow them to know under what conditions they will be leading the organization, what are the expected results of their leadership, what is the proper way they should develop their leadership, and what are the milestones they are fully obligated to met for their leadership to be effective, and fully approved by the organization.
It is important that leaders know what are the rewards their leadership will bring along, because they are leaders committed to the organization, and they deserve wage benefits, admission to exclusive activities of the organization, and merit distinctions, promotions, delegated authority over certain matters of the organization. Of course, always in accordance with the results of their leadership.
When training a staff to lead, the future leaders must feel that the organization trust them, that they will be respected. Conversely, training must state that the organization expects dedication and concentration from their leaders. Teaching the leaders’ rights and duties within the organization is at the core of educating for leadership, of promoting a doctrine of respect between the organization and its leaders.
2. Train leaders for success
Leadership development means that you must train leaders to continually grow and mature. Leadership is not a static concept; leadership is a dynamic, mutable, adaptative process. More than training leaders, you should train successful leaders.
Some leaders fail distinguishing between successful leadership and being a leader and feeling successful because of such status. There is a great difference between being a leader who thinks he is successful because he has reached a leader status, and being a leader who has set out to achieve things, worked hard, and has achieved his success because he conquered his goals. The later one has the right attitude. Success is not a random thing, success is achieved when one is out to reach a goal, and has managed to reach it.
If you do not want to have mediocre leaders, teach them to differentiate between what a leader is and what it means to be successful leaders. You must train leaders so that they understand that having a leadership position is not everything: having a status, an office, an appointment, maybe a team, does not mean to be a successful leader. In order to qualify as successful, a leader has to:
- Have a clear goal she wants to reach.
- Such goal comprises general and specific objectives to be achieved.
- Arrange such objectives in estimated time intervals.
- Identify the required steps to achieve each objective.
- Know limitations and obstacles, and possible solutions for overcoming them.
- A leader does not to stop, a leader does not get discouraged by adverse outcomes: leaders are perseverant, they keep going on.
- Stand firm despite attacks and impediments.
- Do not stop until he reaches the end of the goal.
- A leader, no matter victories and defeats, is carefully enough to keep the right target. No deviations are allowed.
All these steps tells us that being a leader means more than just only a status. Trying to keep leadership according to these parameters will allow the leader to achieve success in everything she undertakes.
3. Leaders stand out for their excellence
Excellence is synonymous of perfection. Often as leaders we are pleased with our accomplishments, but… are such result true accomplishments, useful for our organization, or are they just a matter of personal satisfaction?
Sometimes we count small steps as huge accomplishments in our leadership, but they are just that: small steps that give us an approximation to the path of success that we want conquer, but which rarely deserve the big spotlights we point at them. A leader has to meditate on their achievements, to ask himself whether such results were the best that he could have been done.
When you train leaders, train them to do their tasks, of course, but also train them to excel at such tasks: a leader’s results must set them apart from the non-leaders.
Excellence in leadership also means that the things a leader does attain the best possible results, and processes are carried out in the best possible way. Leaders propose the best models and the best ideas. If when we evaluate what we do we realize that there was a better way to do it, or a better idea, or that we could have done it better, then, we must realize that it was a good performance, but maybe far from an excellent performance.
When training leaders, teach them to think, analyze, evaluate and consider what are the best tasks to achieve their goals, the best path. Leaders must find joy in a work of recognized excellence.
4. Challenge them to their full potential
All human beings have a potential within, probably unknown to us, because we don’t know how to hone our skills, or how to develop them. However, when circumstances are adverse or difficult in the extreme, that is the time when our struggle to survive and overcome the problems of life lead us to discover our talents, gifts, skills and abilities. Hard times help us to realize our qualities.
When training leaders, teach them to do their best, to keep trying even when they don’t feel enough confidence in themselves, perhaps because they feel they don’t have the skills or knowledge. Demand them to do the best they can do, no matter how difficult the task, no matter how weak their self-esteem as a leader, no matter the level of difficulty. Require them to always do their best.
Demanding their best means that they necessarily will have to discover how to achieve what lies ahead, no matter how much they have to sacrifice, or how much they have to fail on the road trying to succeed. Leaders do not surrender to the challenges of their work, because leaders know how to harness energy to overcome challenges.
When you demand these things, you are challenging them. A leader says to herself: I can, I’m able to achieve it, I have the potential to attain my goals, I have the abilities, I have everything I need to do it, I will succeed and my work will be a success.
5. Discover their achievements and talents
Sometimes, leaders tend to assess more the disappointments they’ve found during their work: they tend to minimize their achievements, their true talents.
Sometimes leaders know their accomplishments and their skills to perfection, but when the organization is not aware of the leader’s capabilities the leader may feel discouraged, lacking enough motivation, because after all no one is aware of what they do, or how well they perform. This way, organizational ignorance about their leaders might devalue their work.
As a trainer you also have to highlight the importance of an organization which recognizes its leaders, specially the favorable results of their work and their capabilities and skills. Further, teach leaders how to discover other people’s talents, how to set higher goals, how to develop new skills. That is, teach them to understand that success requires continuous personal and professional improvement.
Teach them to set goals which are intended to become defined achievements, and teach them to exercise specific actions to ensure such achievements.
6. Give them tools to work
Leading is not easy. Leading requires tools. There are many ways to give tools to a leader. Now, what is a tool? A tool is a useful device or technique for a job. There are several types of tools:
Physical tools or materials. Examples: a hammer, a computer, a blackboard, depending on the type of work to do.
Cognitive tools, knowledge and expertise. This is one of the most universal tools that exist, among the first things organizations must convey to their leaders: knowledge and education concerning the areas they should know, which are closely related to their work.
Conceptual tools. One thing is to have knowledge, and another thing is to have concepts and ideas developed in terms of knowledge. If the organization manages a vision or a way of doing things in a particular or different fashion from the rest, these approaches should be transmitted to the leaders. When a leader shares the concepts of his organization, he will perform a lot better.
Strategic tools. These are made up of all the techniques, steps, procedures, and forms of work that the organization has set as parameters and standards to ensure their achievements and successes.
A lot of organizations hire unqualified personnel, which is being evaluated for performance, but which has not been taught anything about leadership, lacking useful tools, only expected to try to learn fast. This is a serious error.
Most companies prefer to hire people with experience, but very few are committed to working towards empowering inexperienced ones. The same goes for the leadership: leadership prefers to delegate responsibilities to people which have been leaders in other organizations, and the only valid option for someone to fill these positions is that his resume says that he executed the same function in other organizations and has had experience in it, for a significant period of time. This situation has its very understandable reasons, because it saves investment in staff training, effort and time. However, organizations that invest in staff training and ongoing training, have remarkable successes that remain in time.
7. Diagnose possibilities
Diagnosing involves assessing scenaries that may occur, depending on the current reality. If you want to know what things could happen in the future, do not sit to wait for the arrival of the future. Be active. Assess the present, and analyze any data the current reality provides.
Evaluate your staff, study their behavior, habits, strengths, weaknesses, talents, values, prejudices, self-esteem. All of these factors have to be taken into account: they can turn into an impediment to progress and achieving success.
When exploring possibilities, consider good and bad possibilities, likely and unlikely scenaries, spot business risks and dangers.
Based on this concept, we can conclude that if you do not make a diagnosis, you are exposing yourself to be defeated by harmful eventualities. Protect from catastrophes by means of planning. Train your leaders to diagnose scenaries, and also to evaluate what is necessary to evaluate, to change whatever is urgent to modify, and to improve everything that has to be improved.
For more information about leadership, take a look at The 7 Attributes of Leadership.