Posts Tagged ‘understanding leadership’

ERFA-Logo-no-backgroundWith a huge focus on Africa and the tremendous investment of many countries into the continent, it is no wonder that more and more articles are being written about its potential and its challenges. From youth unemployment to the creating of sustainable platforms of development, Africa is certainly high on the agenda of many leaders around the world.

Today I want to share for discussion three different articles written by three different authors who might not even know about one another. Yet all three of them were in fact not just complimenting each other, but also strengthening and challenging each others viewpoint.

The first article highlights the urgent need for companies to change their approach in becoming more like training schools who are there to equip and empower people. They need to start with training early and do it as often as possible. They need to make use of mentors and feedback programs to continuously monitor the growth and progress of each employee.

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limp-bookEvery now and then I come across a book that forces me to stop, and reflect on my current leadership style; ‘Leading with a Limp’ is one of them. Most of the time people are encouraged to lead from a place of strength. Admitting to one’s weaknesses and struggles are often seen as inappropriate in our western culture, however Allender challenges this worldview. His book ‘Leading with a Limp’ reminds us that “if you are a leader, you’re in the battle of your life,” and therefore leading from your point of weakness might just be the edge you need. Allender summarizes it as follow, “to the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues”.

Married with three children, Dan B. Allender is the founder of Mars Hill Graduate School, Seattle. Previously served as the president, he is a professor in counseling, a therapist in private practice, and a popular speaker. He is the author of numerous books including ‘To Be Told’, ‘How Children Raise Parents’, ‘The Healing Path’, and ‘The Wounded Heart’.
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I just love the way John Adair begins his book by setting the parameters of his personal understanding of leadership. It is as if he invites you on a journey into the unknown, and explains the way you are going to get there. “It is the art of influencing a body of people to follow a certain course of action; the art of controlling them, directing them and getting the best out of them. A major part of leadership is Man-Management

‘How to Grow Leaders’ is an experiential story of Adair’s “personal odyssey” in his discovering of leadership. With many years of experience and often referred to as “one of Britain’s foremost authorities on leadership in organisations”, Adair recently received the title of Honorary Professor in recognition of his ‘outstanding research and contribution in the field of Leadership’ by the People’s Republic of China. Being the first professor in Leadership Studies at the University of Surrey, he has been the author of more than 30 books on the subject of leadership.
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When I first heard the term ‘Global Leadership’ my thoughts were about people who have ‘really made’ it in leadership; those who are recognized around the world as a good leader. The people who came to mind were those writing books about leadership, presidents of countries, major businessmen and women who have developed global businesses, and people working for global organisations such as the United Nations (UN).

As time progressed and my interest in leadership grew, I realised that many of these men and women were all normal people; some with influence and some without. Some have the ability to lead well when change was needed, and some were merely in a position due to democratic processes.

Today as we find so many different understandings as to what leadership really is, the added subjective of ‘Global’ adds to the complexity of defining a basic explanation. Northouse, in his book ‘Leadership; Theory and Practice’, states that, amongst other things four primary aspects of leadership exist; leadership is a process, leadership involves influence, leadership occurs in groups, and leadership includes attention to common goals (Northouse, 2010, p3). (more…)