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What Leadership Development Can Do For You

Mar 21, 2008
Trying to define leadership is not easy. Many of the world's most prominent philosophers have defined leadership and the conclusions that they have reached have had wide differences. One distinction is that leaders do not show people what to do but rather they tell them what to do and then lets their people surprise them.

This method was coined by influential Second World War general George S. Patton and despite being more than slightly barbaric he was considered a very good leader. Napoleon called a leader a 'dealer in hope' and inferred that a good leader inspired people to perform to their potential. A leader is also said to be able to elicit greatness from people rather than put greatness into people.

So with that in mind a leader should be able to help people achieve their own goals but does so in a way that is not as dogmatic as a manager would. A good leader must have the skill of getting people to do something that needs to be done by their own accord. This is an extremely important aspect of leadership as it depends on people being happy in the job that they do and although leadership is something that can be developed through training it seems to be underpinned by a sense that leaders are born, not raised. This may be partly the case but there are a number of ways that the leadership qualities can be taught to people.

Nicolo Machiavelli is probably the foremost commentator on how to be an effective leader. He wrote a book that detailed how to be an effective Prince and the writings have subsequently become a guide for leaders in all areas of life. 'The Prince' can be considered one of the most influential writings on politics ever written and includes many sound bites and pieces of advice that can be applied to all leaders. These included things such as 'it is better to be feared than loved'. His work can be seen as the bible on leadership and offers a great amount of practical and theoretical advice. This advice include things such as the qualities required of staff, how to avoid hatred and the importance of avoiding flatterers. It may be a theoretical approach to leadership but for those of you that want to learn about how to be an effective leader you should take the time to read it - it is only a short book and well worth the time.

Many successful business leaders have attempted to modify Machiavelli's mantra on leadership in relation to modern business situations. As a result there are a wide variety of readings that are designed to help business leaders improve their leadership skills. Successful businessman jack Welch has outlined a series of principles that a leader must adhere to for success in a business. These can be found for free online and will help inform you without having to pay large sums of money to receive training.

That being said the investment that you make in leadership development is a very effective way of spending your money. Taking time and investing money into becoming a better leader can be entirely invaluable and it is something that business leaders should be receptive to. The one fundamental factor to being a good leader is that one must be magnanimous. That is to say they must not be stubborn and must be open to suggestions and advice. Bear this in mind before you reject the thought of leadership development training!
About the Author
Shaun Parker is a recognised business consultant. He really values the use of leadership development as a method of improving your business.
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