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  • Marian Stewart Anthony

Developing Leaders - the Leadership Challenge®

Someone once said, “A leader is not someone who is the best, but someone who brings out the best of people.” In this blog, we are considering leadership development and will be focusing on the Leadership Challenge Model. The Leadership Challenge model is an evidence-based practice that seeks to help leaders and aspiring leaders effect a culture of excellence within their spheres of influence. This is done by implementing the Five Fundamental Practices of Exemplary Leadership which are identified as:

- Model the Way,

- Inspire a Shared Vision,

- Challenge the Process,

- Enable Others to Act,

- Encourage the Heart.

Model the Way involves first understanding that leadership is not about who one is (based on title), but rather what one does (based on character). Modelling the way requires understanding that differing national, historical, and societal macro-cultural influences have on perception, interpretation and consequent viewpoints that may cause differences. Being willing to listen and learn and seek common ground from which to develop shared core values is critical to opening the way to aligning actions with the shared values. To this end, teaching others to be role models and holding them accountable for performance is also one of the key components to modelling the way.

Inspire a Shared Vision. The late Bob Marley said, “in this great future, you can’t forget your past…”. In the context of leadership development, the past can be a catalyst rather than an inhibitor for envisioning the future. Leaders should look upward and outward rather than downward and inward in developing and sharing a vision that is both inspiring and purposeful. Integral to the formulation and sharing of the vision is helping people seek fulfillment of their higher needs, interests, and aspirations. These include increased self-respect, self-esteem and appropriating the reality of the unique abilities each possesses to function effectively in their respective roles. It is incumbent upon the leader to have demonstrable passion since without passion it is difficult to intrinsically motivate and inspire commitment from others.

Challenge the Process. Leaders should be willing to challenge the existing status quo, particularly where the corporate culture reflects lack of teamwork, silos within the organization, low morale, and high turnover. Such organizations have the status quo embedded as tradition rather than a culture of continuous change and improvement. Challenging the status quo would require leaders to be both reactive and proactive in meeting challenges and fostering change.

Enabling Others to Act implies trust and empowerment. Leaders understand that no vision can come to fruition based on the actions of one person and therefore seek to foster trust and develop strong relationships. Where the leader exhibits trust and respect, these are reciprocated by those whom they lead. Conversely, leaders who foster dependency and alienation will not engender or encourage genuine loyalty nor best efforts from their people.

Encourage the Heart. Leaders who develop emotional intelligence, recognize that people will become frustrated, exhausted, disenchanted, and be tempted to give up. Monitoring and supporting morale, encouraging communication, having a growth plan, and a system of recognition and rewards for excellence, can go a long way to encourage and boost self-esteem and confidence.

In conclusion, “The most significant contribution leaders make is not simply today’s bottom line; it is to the long-term development of people and institutions so they can adapt, change, prosper and grow.” This is the Leadership Challenge.

Bimshire Consulting Inc. is a boutique consultancy firm specializing in end-to-end business process analysis and improvement. We help organizations to move from “good to great” by designing new business models; streamlining and reengineering existing business processes and providing support to change management. We are a team of professionals dedicated to providing creative recommendations to best match our unique business challenges.

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