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DEC 08 by Dr Norris Dalton

Some thoughts on Leadership-development:

1.   Leadership development is a life-long journey of Self-Discovery of one's Authentic-Self.

2.   Leadership development cannot be separated from Self-development i.e. Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Moral development.

3. Leadership is context-dependent and normally emerges from someone at a time of crisis - the right leader, at the right time, in the right place. Thus, it is quite logical for a person to assume the role of a leader in context A - and the role of a follower in context B - even at the same time, e.g. Winston Churchill during and after WW-II and Al Gore during and after the Presidential elections.

4. Leadership is rare and cannot be taught on courses or seminars - since it is developed from within. It takes motivation, time, hard work and commitment through personal growth, conditioned by one's life experiences and significant others in one's  journey.

5. There are few inspiring leaders because it requires :

- standing up for what you believe (what DO you believe?)

- being different - standing out from the crowd

- sacrifice - a price to be paid

- Responsibiltiy for the well-being of Others

- Often standing alone

- Potential loss of favour and certain relationships

- Risk - you may fail or lose reputation

For the above reasons, most people would rather stick to the status quo - remain in their comfort zones – and admire heroic leaders from the sidelines rather than jump in and participate.

In summary - I would suggest the following attributes are common to all Great Leaders - irrespective of race, gender, position, or field of endeavor :

- Live with Vision.

- Have a Mission and Message to tell.

- Have a 24/7 work ethic.

- Have an Indomitable Will to accomplish that Mission - No Matter What !!!

- Inspire Others to Share and Participate in that Mission.

- Have a Capacity for Loneliness

Dr Norris Dalton, CEO South African Institute of Management

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