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Leadership Development


What is
Leadership Development

“The capacity to influence others by unleashing power and potential to impact the greater good.”

– Ken Blanchard

At Studio Dojo, we believe that leadership behaviours and competencies can be nurtured over time, rather than something a select few are born with. We view good leadership as an individual’s or organisation’s effective use of their capacity to influence others to action.

This capacity to influence is what we refer to as power. Though fraught with negative connotation, ‘power’ is neither a good nor bad quality to possess.

Leadership development, for us, is more about vertical rather than horizontal development. Horizontal development refers to the adding of knowledge, skills, and competencies, while vertical development refers to advancement in a person’s thinking capability.

On top of that, we also see leadership as a collective process, not only an individual property. When viewed as a process, contextually situated within the relationships between people (be they ‘leaders’ or ‘followers’), leadership development is concerned with the leadership qualities of individuals, as well as the underlying processes that give rise to improved organisational effectiveness.

Key Highlights:

  • Leadership is nurture, not nature.
  • Leadership is not only an individual property, but a collective process.
  • Power is neither good nor bad, it is the capacity to influence others to action.
  • Everyone is a leader to some extent, not only senior managers or executives.

Benefits of Leadership Development

(1) Developing Leaders as Visionaries

Khai Seng at UXSEA

Leadership development helps build the capacity of influential people within an organisation to be able to look into the future, dream of a vision, communicate it to others and generate energy and movement within the organisation to work towards the same dream.

A shared vision provides an overarching goal – a statement of what an ideal future looks like. This provides:

  • A focus, purpose, and direction. Something the organisation’s members can strive to achieve, which leads to smarter choices in their decision-making.
  • An incentive to acquire and more effectively use assets and resources.
  • Clarity of an organisation’s goals.
  • The fostering of creativity by providing the opportunity to think collaboratively in innovative ways.

(2) Developing Leaders as Enablers

“The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves,
but how far we
advance others.”

– John Maxwell

Leadership development helps build in leaders a more mature view of their role. The truth of the matter is that many leaders are unwilling to share responsibility for fear of losing any of their power. Leaders who are competent enablers learn to think beyond their own interests for the good of the group they are leading. Leadership requires an approach of cooperation, facilitation, empowerment and collaboration with others.

It is also clear that organisations cannot simply declare people to be empowered, and leaders cannot empower people to be innovative or willing to take risks or to choose courses of action that they are uncomfortable with. In that respect, individuals have to empower themselves, because organisational change begins with self-change.

Enabling leaders in an organisation help provide:

  1. A pipeline of leadership talent.
  2. Talent aligned to the organisation’s goals.
  3. Improved staff morale.
  4. Increased retention.
  5. Improved leadership skills throughout the organisation.
  6. Consistent measurement through development and performance management.

(3) Developing Leaders Systematically

In traditional models of organisational leadership, power is typically found in designated leaders at the top of a hierarchy. While this is still a good model for certain types of organisations, a majority of modern organisations today require more effective systems.

As organisations become larger and more complex, top leadership is less able to accomplish everything that is needed of and expected from the organisation.

Leadership development helps an organisation build leadership systematically, allowing a distribution of power to create a more effective organisation overall.

When every member of an organisation views themselves as leaders or having a role to play in the growth of the organisation, they tend to become better at what they do. They also help everyone who works with them to do the same. Expanding the leadership of the organisation gives it the ability to expand its responsibilities and take on new initiatives.

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