Linggo, Agosto 15, 2010

Leadership Development Approaches -Effects of Perceptions of Famous Individuals and Training Venues on Success- by Jolito Ortizo Padilla

If you're trying to teach people to be leaders, their role models and the training venue you emulate may influence learning significantly.

Leadership remains a coveted characteristic in business and society. This is not surprising given the widely held view that effective leadership is an important catalyst to desired levels of organizational performance. Consequently, organizations are encourage to develop leadership abilities of employees. Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy observe that leadership is comprised of personal experience as well as planning.

This research explores facets of experience and training related to leadership through a survey that ascertained individuals' perceptions regarding different training venues and famous individuals, celebrities, and public figures as effective or model leaders.

Perceptions and Role Models
There is widespread acceptance of the notion that an organization's leaders serve as role models for individuals within an organization. Recognizing role models within the organizations is important given evidence suggesting that role models influence the choices that individuals make. It is also important, however, to acknowledge that role models or influencial others also can reside outside the organization. For example, celebrities can serve as role models for individuals. These celebrities could include , but are not necessarily limited to, movie stars, professional athletes, publci officials , individuals of historical significance , or anyone widely recognized throughout society.

The proliferation of media outlets intesifies the potential impact that these external role models can have on individuals' choices or behavior. Miciak and Shanklin noted that individuals might attempt to be similar to celebrities in attributes such as appearance. These mimetic tendencies feasibly could extend to individual behavior. This contention is bolstered by Fiesbein and Ajzen's widely accepted Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) model. An important facet of this model suggests that individual attitudes and beliefs are potent determinants of concomitant behavior. Applying this tenet of the TRA within the context of celebrities as role models, it is probable that individual individual beliefs about desirable or undesirable characterisitcs of celebrities could ultimately influence their behavior. Of specific interest in this research is the extent to which selected celebrities and other noteworthy individuals are perceived as effective leaders, with these perceptions or beliefs having a potential impact on the leadership behaviors of those holding such perceptions.

Perceptions and Training Venues
Understanding individuals' perception about the effectiveness of training venues in the development of leaders is important. In their widely distributed text on leadership, Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy noted that perception"... plays a very important role in what anyone will extract from a leadership course or from any leadership situation." Insights gained through perceptions about the effectiveness of common training venues can provide fodder for improving leadership education through strategies such as benchmarking and best practices. Furthermore, knowledge about perceptions of training venues may be useful in explaining individual choices or selections of certain organizations for educational or career purposes.

Survey on Leadership Perceptions
The survey assesesed self reported perceptions related to the effectiveness of 30 well known individuals (such as celebrities, politicians, and religious figures) as leaders and training venues.

The demographic composition of the respondents was not representative of the overall work force population. Although gender was dispersed relatively evenly, ethnicity and age were not, so these results cannot be generalized. They are worth noting, however, and certainly bear further investigation.

The US first President George Washington was rated as the effective leader. Politicians and religious leaders rounded out the top most effective leaders. Given that most survey participants were relatively young (less than 60 years old) it is interesting to note that none of the celebrities listed in the survey were rated in the top 10. In fact, the highest rated celebrity (not a politician or religious leader) was Oprah Wifrey who ranked 15th. Individuals receiving the lowest leadership effectivenes ratings included pop icons Jessica Simpson. Madonna. Britney Spears and Justine Timberlake.

Perceptions on the effectiveness of selected training venues identified the military as the most effective of the 17 options, followed by small businesses (entreprenuerial firms), medicine (doctors and hospitals, education(public and private schools) and sports. The training venue considered the least effective was entertainment. This is consistent with perceptions of model leaders where the individuals receiving comparatively low rankings came from the entertainment industry. Religious organizations were rated as only the eight most effective training venue, which appears inconsistent with religious leaders' high rankings as effective leaders. It is interesting to consider the relatively high ranking of education given the ongoing , negative media and political portrayals of public education in the world.

Acknowledging individual perceptions related to effective leaders and training venues is considered important given the likelihood that these perceptions ultimately will impact the choices or behavior of individuals. Participants identified selected religious figures and politicians as the most effective leaders. A deeper assessment of the personal attributes of the model leaders may be useful in identifying silent characteristics to incorporate into an organization's leadership development efforts, and ultimately the habits of organizational leaders.

The top rated leadership training venues (military, entreprenuerial, and medical facilities) are generally regarded as fast faced and relatively high risk with the consequences of failure considered significant, which may result in the emergence of effective leaders. Also, out of necessity, these organizations face pressures to develop skills, and abilities of internal stakeholders, including leaders, quickly. It is likely that leadership development within these organizatios emphasizes practice rather than theory, which aligns with Hurt and Homan's highlighting the importance of training that is realistic in nature, focusing more in practical rather than theoritical aspects of leadership.

Although the results from this perceptual survey cannot be generalized, they do provide interesting and potentially valuable insights into individual perceptions of model leaders and effective leadership training venues. Organizations may benefit from incorporating those characteristics associated with the highly regarded tarining venues.

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