“When I learn to live with myself, I am no longer alone.” — J M Sampath

Leadership of Future or Leadership Excellence

Leadership has been the most researched, most spoken and most written topic along with being most transient and evolving. It has been a topic that has drawn the attention of people from all spheres of life constantly. Considering the history of leadership, while the nineteenth century believed in progress and perfection, the 'consequence of work', Sigmund Freud's concept of the 'unconscious'; Max Weber’s concept of the 'bureaucracy' and several theories of leadership right from charismatic leadership till transformational leadership there has been continuous inputs. By early twentieth century various theories proposed moved from Trait Theory where common characteristics of effective leadership were identified, to the Style Theory in which different styles were identified and the democratic style was singled out as having the most potential and to the Contingency Theory where leadership was said to be dependent on the demands of a particular situation (Goffee & Jones, 2000).

A survey of literature reveals several interesting insights. Foremost of them all is the fact that the distinction between "leadership" and "leaders" is not always explicitly acknowledged. It is either taken for granted that they are intimately related or they are treated in separate water tight compartments. Scholarly discussions on leaders generally tend to focus attention on the "style" and "qualities" necessary to bring the best out of either the leader or those whom he or she seeks to impact. Scholarly discussions on 'leadership' on the other hand tend to generally focus upon different orientations that strongly mark styles of leadership.

It is important to underline the larger context that has actually created the space for different styles and orientations in the domain of leadership. The point is this: no one style or orientation of leadership has ever been complete in itself. In both cases, it has invariably been a journey. While it is indeed important to understand this journey, it is essential to identify the missing links in each style and dig out and identify the essence that runs through these several styles and orientations. It seems to us essential therefore to locate the fundamental elements that knit together the fabric of leadership in an organizational context. Joseph Rost (1993) makes the pertinent observation that leadership scholars have been caught in the peripheral elements surrounding leadership and its content instead of grappling with the nature of leadership as a process.

Among the invaluable dimensions illustrated by the leadership theories are the following:

  • The need for the ability to empower followers to do what is best for the organization
  • Being a strong role model with high values
  • Creating a shared vision
  • Listening to all perspectives to develop organizational maturity and acting as a change agent within the organization by setting an example of how to initiate and implement change
  • Helping people contribute

In this flow of thought a significant contribution has been The 'Evolutionary Leadership Excellence' model proposed by Dr. J.M.Sampath. The very title shows that it is a evolving model which indicates that the Leader has to continuously evolve and it is a journey. It is not a destination to be reached. Therefore the leadership provided by the evolving leader is also evolving. The model has four corner stones that anchor the leader; six bridges that determine the evolutionary process and four outcomes that are measures and evidence of evolution. This model has emerged out of a belief that all human beings innately move toward excellence in their journey in life. The model has four cornerstones (learning, vision, values, and excellence), six bridges to connect these four cornerstones (innovation, farsightedness, conviction, clarity, focus, and alignment), and four outcomes because of these connections (quality, value add, leadership, and evolution).

Organizations while attempting to foster a culture of excellence should focus on building its leaders on a strong foundation. Doing so would result in nurturing an organization that would provide leadership in every dimension of its existence. Unless the Leaders are not created organizations cannot provide effective leadership in the market.

Arpitha has evolved the concept, tools and processes that enable the organizations evolve and move towards excellence through Leadership development based on the Excellence model.

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