Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where to find the right leaders?

The McKinsey Quarterly article “Do you have the right leaders for your growth strategies?” made me think about the highly competitive leadership programs that exist for college graduates and young professionals. These programs such as the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America are just a few that currently exist and produce effective leaders.

As we move quickly from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy executives and managers with high level leadership skills are very valuable and required. These tangible skills like “thought leadership, people and organizational leadership, and business leadership” are core leadership competencies that young people today are being trained in. Many times I read about the success or failures of companies and I am saturated with numbers or data reporting the physical attributes of a company. But why did those companies succeed or fail? I appreciated the emphasis on the power and skill of effective leadership, which is fundamental ingredient in the success or failure of an organization.

Organizational leadership has three core competencies according to Herrman, Komm, and Smit: Developing organizational leadership, change leadership, and team leadership. As a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs last year here in Pittsburgh I was challenged daily to be an effective and ethical leader, in all industries. As I was being trained and challenged as an emerging leader, I learned to observe effective and non-effective leaders in the work place. I quickly saw the relation and causal effect between leadership and growth in an organization (non-profit, for profit, or public).

I noticed in the public sector or government that many managers did not possess the core competencies to lead their team and they could not lead their team to carry out the priorities or mission of their organization (above the status quo). I wonder if the leaders of the federal government had the ability to be effective change leaders, would this country be able to make large scale change faster and more collaboratively? These leaders are out there, but they may be giving up and instead creating organizations to increase common good on their own.

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