Nurturing and Developing Leaders

Leaders have to lead and set an example by walking the talk, in changing times the new leader needs specific new traits to be successful, what are these? Take a look and read on:

Have you ever experienced an outstanding group performance whether an orchestra, a ballet, or a musical? Those who have will tell you that the experience is that of being in “the zone” – you feel one with the performance, everything just works together and it feels right. It’s a kind of imagination and emotional thing.

The accelerating pace of change in globalisation, disruptive technologies, capital flows and alliances have created fundamental shifts in business operations. Many popular leadership models are insufficient to deal with the pace and character of the constant, rapid change in the IT sector.

Leaders not only have to be highly skilled and knowledgeable about international trade, competitiveness, and business globalisation but also must be able to lead and manage teams working on different continents and in different offices.


According to a survey conducted by Hewitt, they identified three fundamental principles that they termed the ‘Three Leadership Truths’. These principles were the foundation for what separated the best companies from the rest:

1) Senior team involvement: One of the key enablers of building leadership quality and depth is an active involvement from the CEO and Board of Directors.

2) Having a maniacal focus on talent: Top companies are serious about their investment in top talent.

3) Having the right programmes in place and utilising them effectively: The integration and execution of leadership programmes is what makes them real. Companies differentiate themselves by effectively utilising their practices to develop leaders in support of their business strategy.

John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems, spoke at a recent Fortune Magazine conference and shared that he has begun to change the management paradigm of Cisco to one of networked innovation; moving from traditional command and control systems to a distributed and highly networked system built on capabilities and skills rather than rank and reporting structures. Therefore the need of ‘growth leaders’ is in demand.

A growth leader is someone who accepts and embraces change; is interested and learns about other countries and cultures; stays at the cutting-edge of technology; and someone who is extremely flexible and can move quickly with the fast pace of our business.

If you have to continually deliver high value to your stakeholders including associates, customers, investors and society, then you must do things in the best way possible and that links up to innovation. And innovation essentially takes place in an environment of continuous learning. Running an organisation is about making sure that all the pieces work together and that is the fundamental tenet of leadership


Though everyone accepts the need to have a strong leadership pipeline, yet this is an ongoing struggle. Many organisations have stumbled from one initiative to another, from one competency model to another, from one process to another; all desperately trying to find a way to cultivate their most important asset: top talent.

Find them, nurture them, train them, groom them and get them ready for the succession.


Though the actual designing of systems for managing talent on a global basis is usually done by the HR team, but the CEO’S vision must anchor the effort to manage top talent. The CEO is the chief role model of the organisation. If the CEO is not an active participant in the process of leadership creation, then leadership simply will not happen.

The IT industry has also shown the way in the highly competitive practice of sourcing the ideas and talent from where they reside, irrespective of age or nationality. Today, one needs to look at talent not in terms of “age” but in terms of competencies, experiences and business results that they have achieved to make themselves suitable for a role.

The owners of Facebook are 22 years old, and this helps us believe that the technology-led companies need the new blood that is creative. At Microsoft, they have several young leaders running tech savvy business units. They grow as the company grows, and mature as the company matures

The new economy is filled with promise, and peril. In these exciting times those who are building new companies or leading change inside established companies enjoy unparalleled opportunities – and encounter endless challenges in the form of leaders who will lead their organisations in the future.

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