How to conceptualise the designing of a basic leadership development program?

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For any OD Facilitator or even an academic Faculty Member, developing a Leadership Development Program or a teaching module on Leadership is a task of significance and high value. Whereas much is known and talked about leadership in general, when given the charge of developing a Leadership Development Program or a teaching module on Leadership, the person may struggle to find out an appropriate approach to start with.

A search of “Leadership” on Google throws up roughly 84 million hits. Indeed, as a glamorous topic popularly talked about, the interest has grown and hence the growth, availability and popularity of Leadership Courses. The first objectively printed text book on “How to Teach Leadership” was published 25 years ago in USA by Westpoint’s Department of Behavioural Sciences and Leadership, titled Leadership in Organizations (1985). However, the struggle of Faculties and OD Facilitators continue and the following questions are pertinent:

(a) As a faculty or facilitator, where should I go to learn and find out about the wide array of approaches to teach or develop Leadership?

(b) How do I search the sea of practical experiences to arrive at appropriate hypothesis and pedagogical techniques which I can use to design, develop and deliver a leadership course or a Leadership Training Module?

I recommend the following approach which is called the “KNOW, DO, BE MODEL”. The three key components of this Model are based on the three classical domains of psychology.

KNOW (cognitive), DO (behavioural) & BE (attitudinal). As a resource person this leads us to develop a leadership process approach which flows like:

KNOW > DO > BE

KNOW – The underlined concept behind this model is that knowing about leadership helps to prepare future leaders for the organization and allowing them to practice. ‘Knowing’ can happen by way of acquiring concepts and theories from relevant societal concepts and existing Leadership Theories and Models. These then requires to be connected to the situational and perspectives of the leadership development, as faced by the faculty. Faculty is thus recommended to relate its target group and the current situational perspective to existing body of Theories and Models, so as to arrive at a thematic approach to address the Leadership Development needs. Additionally, the OD Facilitators ensure that their learning interventions or inputs in the program are tailored in such a way that they integrate the action of putting the theories and models into exhibited behavioural conduct in their day to day operations.

DO – “Doing” refers to the characteristic behavioural aspects of Leading, often referred also as Competencies. Characteristic behavioural skills, exhibited leadership style and experiential feedback exchange are core to Doing. Knowing and Doing, both refers to acquiring of knowledge and skills by incumbents to become leaders.

BE – “Being” refers to the attitudinal construct of the leader comprising of the leader’s Conscious and Unconscious sense to Identity, Character and Values.

Thus, the fundamental approach that emerges is, to develop an incumbent into an effective leader, the incumbent needs to be ‘Made Known’ of the relevant domain related information, facts and data. The incumbent also needs to be taken through the ‘Do and Acts’ of learning and practicing the critical characteristic behavioural skills. Further, he/she should also be trained to ‘Be’ a Values Driven, Character oriented ‘Being.’

FOR AN ADVANCE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

The faculty or OD Facilitator may consider to extend the basic tenets of Application Orientation to learning simulations that could help the incumbent to experiment, to be either more of TRANSFORMATIVE or SITUATIONAL leader, as is the demand from him or her in the work situation.

I shall be offering a separate and detailed coverage on Advance Leadership Development in this blog soon.

© Satyakki Bhattacharjee 2014