This is a guest post by Ali Jafra. Throughout his professional career Ali has been associated with globally recognized consulting firms, including PriceWaterHouse Coopers & Mercer consulting where he has undertaken a number of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) assignments, which has given him a diverse and unique perspective on Change Management. He has successfully managed relationships for blue chip companies, such as, Pepsi International, Microsoft, General Motors, Standard Chartered Bank, Polycom, Du Pont & Al Ghurair Group.
He has also worked as a Lead Project Manager for United Nations (UNDP) project to build capacity of Ministry of Economic Affairs Team in Pakistan to strengthen their online presence and virtual coordination for technology cooperation among developing countries.
In his passion to facilitate dissemination of knowledge with ease, he has moderated more than 100 Live Webinars on MILE’s platform by successfully engaging speakers from Top Academic Schools in the world and Global Consulting firms, such as Harvard, Columbia, Oxford, INSEAD, London Business School, Wharton, Babson, Yale, Standford, Carnegie, IESE, Cranfield, Oliver Wyman, Strategy&, United Nations Chief of E-government and many more.
Ali is a Certified Practitioner of Personality & Preference Inventory program (PAPI) which is a Psychometric tool developed by Cubiks an entity of PA Consulting U.K.
Ali holds a BSc. Degree from Elon University, North Carolina, USA.
Every other organization tries to initiate a program that aims especially at developing leadership. These organizations spend huge amount of money and thousands of hours just to develop their leaders. However, the future leaders find it impossible to implement all of the inspiring leadership ideas and practices when they actually return to the workplace. Have they ever imagined why it is sometimes so difficult to put even the best leadership ideas into practice.
Following are some tips that would help such leaders to overcome most common leadership pitfalls.
Unfortunately, leadership is over used to resolve the problems for which it is most inappropriate for. For instance, some Organizations totally neglect management, which is a vital part of any organization, while creating values, developing visions and coaching employees. Good management incorporates defining difficult yet clear and achievable goals. Furthermore, it is the duty of a manager to monitor the progress on those goals and to align incentives with goals. Neglecting management and focusing solely on leadership development means organizations spend most of their time on managing goals instead of actually delivering them.
To remove this barrier, it is important for leaders to use leadership only when it is actually required. For instance, they can take help of management to resolve tame issues because it might provide already proven solutions for them. However, they need to utilize their leadership skills when they have to encounter more “wicked problems.”
Leaders Refuse to Change
Leaders tend to spend heavily in developing new skills as well as their identity as a manager. As a result, they find it rather hard to avoid command and control and get rid of managerial took kit. They take themselves as an expert and try to resolve most of the problems themselves instead of simply supporting others to resolve them. In fact, aspiring leaders refuse to do away with their identity as being an expert.
Inspiring leaders need to develop a new identity in addition with acquiring new skills and further polishing the old ones. They should explore new methods of reflecting on themselves and step away from the sense of being expert in their previous workplace.
Lack of Time
It is also a fact that many middle managers spend most of their time answering emails and performing administrative duties, practically reducing their time to do leadership. Inspiring leaders need to reserve some time in their daily schedule to do leadership. This means that they should have enough time out of their schedule to communicate vision, think about broader issues and consult with support staff. They should give up ‘negative’ habits like writing lengthy emails, working on worthless tasks or arranging pointless conferences.
No Support from Staff
Managers start developing visions as well as engaging, inspiring and motivating staff as soon as they become leaders. If the staff is receptive than its fine otherwise you might have to face serious problems. In most cases, lower staff takes leadership as utter waste of time and something that prevents them from performing their duties properly.
Inspiring leaders should only exhibit their leadership qualities if they are in demand. They carefully need to decide when they need to lead their staff or when other forms of management might work well for them. For instance, there are many workplaces where employees know what is required of them and they are well motivated as well. In this case, leaders just need to provide feedback and support.
It is not easy at all to remove these barriers to leadership. It is rather difficult to encourage the managers to change the way they see themselves, cleverly choose between management and leadership, understand when the leadership is actually required and sparing some time to do leadership. Therefore, unless the senior pros in organizations refuse to take on these challenges, all the attempts to prepare new leaders will just remain attempts.