Corporate Leadership Development


The leadership development process reflects the strategic priorities of a particular organization. There are certain expectations and roles, which are expected to be executed by the leaders in an organization (Carter, Ulrich & Goldsmith 2005). In most of the organizations, leadership is viewed as an effective source of gaining a competitive advantage. For this purpose, required amount of investment is done by the organizations. In the leadership development process, the capacity building of the different groups of organizational people is done to make them learn their roles with elimination of all the difficulties, which were not able to be predicted by them. Thus, the approach of leadership development has direct orientation towards the attainment of capacity building in expectation of unforeseen confronts (Day 2001).

The leadership development is required in all kinds of organizations. As per this paper, Qatar Petroleum is a global oil company. There are three main departments of the company; operations, administrative and the planning department. In the production department, there are about 300 people in the staff. A high potential employee has been employed in this department. This program has been framed as a development program to improve the skills of the high potential employee in such a way that he can become competent in his related field and can prove to be a leader in future.

In context of this petroleum company, leadership development process will include activities through which the quality of the new leader would be enhanced for the effective utilization of his capabilities. The high potential employee of the company would be given training at the local level through coaching and mentoring. His work would be assessed on continuous basis through assessment center method to check whether his performance is improving to the required level or not. In the leadership development process, development of the entire attitudes and traits of the high potential employee as a leader would be focused through which, he would be able to investigate the future requirements of his roles in the related department. In addition to this, in the leadership development, all the required changes in the future organizational behavior would be required to bring through practical sources rather than reactive basis (Luthans 1998).

In the petroleum industry, a well- organized growth process is required for a constant growth. There are two perspectives of the leadership development; individual and organizational. From the organizational perspective, the skills of the present leaders of the organization are assessed and their comparison is conducted in relation to the future requirements of the competitive business. On the other hand, from the individual perspective, the leadership development is done through the assessment of the talent present in the personality of leaders at the time of assessment, as well as, the aspects in which more development can be carried out in their personality and attitude (London 2002). In the context of the Qatar Petroleum, the individual development perspective is implied.

To have a good understanding of the leadership skills, in applying the method of leadership development, the present leaders are required to contribute to their fullest (Mumford et al, 2000). In this process, the activities of the leaders are analyzed very closely. In the development process, the educational and socialization issues are most specifically considered and the main focus is on the enhancement of the capacity and potential of the individuals including their self directive, motivation and consciousness. On the other hand, in the leadership development process, the emhasis is on the leaders' interaction in the organization in context of social organization (Bass et al, 2003).

Different Leadership Styles

There are different types of leadership styles followed by the leaders in the organizational behavior. These styles are developed in the leader through leadership development process. The main leadership styles are directive leadership style, Coercive leadership style, participative leadership style and supportive leadership style.

  1. Directive Leadership Style: Directive leadership style is a power orientation approach. This approach is used by the leaders for molding behaviors of the subordinates at the work place (Eagly & Johnson 1990). In this approach, the decision making power on any organizational matter resides only with the leader. All the activities and situations are structured by him as per this leadership style and that is to be followed by all the organizational people working under that particular leader. In addition to this, emotional intelligence is also comprised by the leaders following directive leadership style.

The motivation in directive leadership style is positive particularly in benevolent directive leadership. The leader, who follows the directive leadership style, is a strong motivator for the leader itself from development point of view, as he himself manages all the decisions related to organizational behavior and team management. With this style, less competent employees are also regulated by the leader under their guidance and decision making which improves the work efficiency of all the employees in a coordinated manner. This is highly effective leadership style for making reluctant and incapable employees to work effectively (Kritsonis 2004).

  1. Coercive Leadership Style: The coercive leadership style is used most generally by the leaders in the organizational behavior. As per this style, the organizational people experience great flexibility. The application of this leadership style is favorable during the crisis period of the organization. With this approach, self awareness is generated among the organizational people. The applicability of coercive leadership has a wide range from an effective individual to the entire organizational group. With the application of the coercive leadership style, the social objectives of the organization are fulfilled in the best possible way. When the company finds itself in extremely disastrous condition, the best suitable approach is the coercive leadership style. This makes the people of the organization to coordinate in one direction. As per this style, the sub-ordinates have to work according to the guidelines of the managers or the leaders. With this effective leadership style, the leaders are able to regulate the emotions of the sub-ordinates, both pleasant and unpleasant. With the help of coercive leadership, the leaders not only manage their own emotions, but the emotions of sub-ordinates too are managed by them in favor of the organizational performance.

This leadership style is favorable for all types of situations, which are faced by the business organizations related to their business activities.

  1. Participative Leadership Style: Participative leadership style has democracy for the organizational people. This style implies the participation of the organizational people in the form of rational and emotional involvement, in a group circumstance. This approach encourages the organizational people to contribute towards attaining the group objectives rather than the individual objectives (Gastill 1994). The decision making process of the participative leaders is always decentralized. The decision making of participative leaders is never unilateral, but they consult all their sub-ordinates prior to take any minor or major decision. The emotions of the human resources are entirely considered by the participative leaders. This is learned by these leaders through their social interaction. The participative leadership style has several advantages over other leadership styles as it is a highly motivating technique. As regards to this aspect, it is very close to emotional intelligence as motivation is the most important constituent of emotional intelligence (Gastill 1994).

The reason of this higher degree of motivation for the organizational people is that the employees feel prominent when their views and opinions are given weight in the managerial decision making. In addition to this, the productivity of the recruits is also raised by this leadership style as the implementation of the managerial decision making is done by the employees with their own will. The responsibilities of the organizational process are also distributed equally among all the organizational people.

  1. Supportive Leadership Style: The leaders following supportive leadership style establish or execute a friendly behavior with the sub-ordinates. The main concern of the participative leaders is towards the fulfillment of the needs of the sub-ordinates, as well as, their wellbeing. With the implication of supportive leadership style, the organizational environment can be made pleasant for the working of the employees. The supportive leaders make the work interesting for the workforce. The employees are also supported by them amongst any situation of the organizational behavior.

Enjoyment and cooperation are the two most favorable aspect of this theory, which resembles with the emotional intelligence.

From among all the analyzed leadership styles, the best suitable for the development of the high potential employees of Qatar Petroleum as a future leader is the participative leadership style. With this style, the high potential employee would have to take part in all the decisions and tasks under taken by the existing leader of the production department. This would be proved as a kind of on the job training for the new individual. He would be able to understand the major requirement of the related job, as well as, the critical situations requiring effective decision making would also be understood by him.

Theories & Practices of Leadership

There are many theories, which have great attempt to demonstrate the characteristics, which are required to be acquired by the organizational people for being the effective leaders. All the theories of leadership are not applied in all situations. To have the proper selection of an effective theory in Qatar Petroleum's leadership development process, some of the leadership theories are analyzed in the paper. In this series, the main theories concerned with the leaders for their development are the Path-goal theory, Transformational Theory of Leadership and Trait Theory.

Path Goal Theory of Leadership: Path goal theory of leadership is a situational theory of leadership. This theory was given by Robert J. House. The theory is based on the concept of motivation. The two theories of leadership are jointly attempted in the path goal theory namely; the situational leadership and Vroom's expectancy theory. The path goal theory of leadership forces the leaders to assist their sub-ordinates by giving them proper guidance and support, wherever required to make them capable to attain the organizational objectives and goals. This theory supports the supportive leadership practices, according to which, the leaders should cooperate their followers in all the organizational activities (Wofford & Liska 1993).

As per this theory, the leaders characterize the path through which, the sub-ordinates can attain the organizational goals. The path goals process is practiced by the leaders with the adoption of different kinds of leadership styles as per the changing of the situations. This way, the path goal theory combines different leadership styles with the changing organizational situations. The path goal process is followed in different ways by the leaders. As per directive leadership style, the leaders plan, organize, control and coordinate the actions of their followers as they desire.

The path goal theory depends on various situations in the organization such as characteristics of sub-ordinates, work environment, changing business activities, etc. The employees have different characteristics. Some employees have great willingness to be influenced by the leadership guidance and support while some others do not have to be guided by them. In such a situation, the leaders have to follow the directive leadership style to define the strategy of their work. On the other hand, some sub-ordinates have great ability to perceive the task.

Path goal theory is not only applicable to the directive leadership style, but equally helpful for the participative, coercive, and supportive leadership styles. In the supportive leadership style, the path goal theory gives full consideration to the needs and requirements of the employees in the organization. The leaders have to show full concern for the well being of the staff and they ought to be equally treated by him. The path goal theory also supports the participative behavior of the leaders. In this aspect, the path goal theory suggests the leaders to share the relevant information with the entire workforce. According to path goal theory, the leaders should importune their ideas with the inclusion of the suggestions in order to reach the ultimate decisions.

The leaders assist the employees not only in the direction of their path of goal achievement, but equally assist them in the removal of the obstacles, which hinder the goal attainment procedure. The implications of path goal theory are reflected in the routine organizational activities. This theory derives the administrative behavior of leaders based on the tasks and individuals (House 1996). As per this theory, a moderate environment is created in the organization by the favorable practices of the leaders towards their sub-ordinates, which develops a cordial relationship between these two. As per path goal theory, the strain of environmental and situational factors affects the leadership practices followed by him at the varying situations (Villa, Howell, Dorfman & Daniel 2003). Thus, the path goal theory has a great implication for the effective leadership development in the organizations, so that favorable practices can be followed by them.

Transformational Theory of Leadership

The other leadership theory, which affects the development of the leaders and their practices in the organization, is the transformation leadership theory. Transformational leadership theory develops the leaders to make them able to inspire the sub-ordinates working with him through his own vision and energy. This theory focuses on the identification of the charismatic characteristics of leaders, which are very much significant for the organizations. This is because; the traditional ways are transformed by the leaders to meet the challenges, which are faced by the sub-ordinates in the organizations in the dramatically changing business environment.

The base of the transformational leadership is that leaders are allowed to shift the values, beliefs and needs of their followers to make them adjustable in the work environment. With the adoption of the transformational leadership, the leaders are able to develop superior performance in the organization with the modifications in the organizational environment to meet the changing needs of the business. There is offered a specific purpose by the transformational leaders with which the short term objectives of the organization can be transcended and the intrinsic needs of high order of the organization, as well as, the individuals. With the transformational leadership, the leaders also are able to identify the needs of the followers, so that they can be given effective supportive measures by the leaders for fulfillment of the organizational needs (Judge & Piccolo 2004).

There are four main dimensions of the transformational leadership style as per the theoretical aspect. These dimensions are charisma, encouraging motivation, rational stimulation and individualized deliberation. As per the charisma, the leaders in the organization should provide their followers, the exact visions and sensible mission to make them achieve their expected objectives. In addition to this, with this magnetism, the leaders can gain respects and establish mutual trust among the followers. From encouragement point of view, high expectation of leaders should be communicated to the followers. In rational stimulation, the followers are provided with the problem solving ways.

Trait Theory of Leadership

Trait Theory of Leadership is the most traditional approach of leadership. As per this theory, the leaders have two types of characteristics, namely innate characteristics, as well as, acquired characteristics. The innate characteristics of leaders are the physical features and intelligence level of the individuals. With the intelligence level, the leaders are able to guide their employees with full support and participation. As per the trait theory, leadership resides in the leaders solely and this is acquired by external environment (Judge, Bono, Ilies & Gerhardt 2002).

The most favorable acquired trait of the leaders is the emotional stability, human relations, motivating skills and social skills. Leadership supports that without emotional stability, the leaders cannot provide support to the sub-ordinates. The emotional leaders can manage all the situations in the organization successfully. With the human relation practices, the leaders can provide great support to their sub-ordinates by the provision of voluntary cooperation for the achievement of organizational objectives. According to the trait theory, the leaders have a great self- motivational power to make him involved in the organizational process. They also have requisite quality to motivate the sub-ordinates for higher performance. With the social skills, the leader understands the strengths and weaknesses of his sub-ordinates. This leader works with his sub-ordinates with full cooperation.

The path goal theory is the best suitable one as per the current situation of the business. As per this theory, motivation of the sub-ordinates is the best tool for their development. The high potential employees of Qatar Petroleum should be given utmost level of motivation for his overall development as a leader. With the implementation of this theory, the high potential employee would be given proper guidance by the head of the related department to make him achieve the organizational objectives at the required competent level. The performance of the high potential employee would also be controlled and coordinated with full consideration to his desires. The personal traits of the employees are taken care of in the developmental process. This theory supports the participative leadership style on equal level for the development of the future leaders.

Leadership Development Methods for Future Leaders

The recognition and development of the future leaders for the organizational process is the most crucial responsibility of the organization as these leaders can conduct the practices of the followers in the organization, so that they can work more enthusiastically for the achievement of organizational goals. A good leader is the one, who gives importance to the followers and makes them acknowledged their roles for the performance of the activities assigned to them (Harris & Hartman, 2001).

There are three specific methods for the development of the future leaders which are favorable for Qatar Petroleum. These methods are coaching, mentoring and assessment centers. The application of these methods for the development of the high potential employee of Qatar Petroleum is done in following manner:

Coaching- Coaching is the most popular method of the leadership development, for capacity building of the individuals. Coaching is a short-term intervention, which is aimed at improving the performance level of employees, as well as, development of a specific competence (Hackman & Wageman 2005). With coaching, the potential leader of Qatar Petroleum can be improved through learning and training for the performance improvement. This is based on the aspects of the path goal theory of leadership. As per the theory the high potential leader would be guided to follow the right path for the achievement of organizational goals. In the coaching method, the organization would employ coaches for the enhancement of the performance of the potential leader in order to make effective improvement in the organizational performance. This is the most accepted practice for the development of the future leaders. With the coaching method, a formal relationship would be maintained with the leaders in which they would be taught both internal, as well as, external organizational expertise.

Mentoring: Mentoring is a traditional approach used for human development purpose. The main focus of mentoring in leadership development is on the development of individual in an open ended manner. Mentoring includes helping and assisting organizational leaders to improve their learning skills for the maximization of their potential, improving their performance and development of the person according to the required responsibilities (Darwin 2000). For effective development of the potential leader in Qatar Petroleum the selection of the best mentoring is an essential requirement. Through mentoring, the potential leaders would become able to do their job in better way and carry more advanced results to the organizational objectives. Mentoring is based on trait theory as per which the high potential leader would be motivated and their technical skills and objectivity would be improved. With the mentoring, there is established an extreme interpersonal relationship of the leaders with their mentors. Through mentoring, the leaders would be developed and counseled at the individual level (Eby et al, 2000).

Assessment Centers Method: Assessment Center method is conducted by a group of employees, which are drawn from different work units of organization. All the employees are made to work on an identical assignment for their performance appraisal. In this method, the evaluators observe the performance of all the leaders and then rank them. This is done as per the transformational theory practices according to which the proper coordination of the leader with the subordinates to have effective performance. For this purpose, experienced and skilled leaders are positioned as the evaluators. The evaluation of the performance of the leaders is done on individual, as well as, organizational level (Lowry 1995). In, production department of Qatar Petroleum, the performance evaluation of the high potential employee would be done on the individual basis. This assessment would be done on the basis of job related characteristics, which are much important for the success of the job assigned to him. In addition to the performance appraisal, this method would similarly assist in determination of training and development needs of the high potential employee as per his job responsibilities.

One of the methods of assessment center is 360 Degree Feedback. This method is aimed to increasing the self awareness of a leader in order to make improvements in their leadership or managerial practices. The 360 Degree Feedback is given to the individuals in written format. With this feedback method, the potential leader of Qatar Petroleum would be acknowledged with his future goals in context of his organizational performance. The performance of leader would be compared with these goals at regular intervals. With this method, the job expectations of the leaders are made clear to them, so that they can be known with their required development aspects.

All the three methods of leadership development; coaching, mentoring and assessment center have some similarities and difference with each other in relation to the leadership development:

Similarities between Leadership Development Methods

  • Coaching, mentoring and assessment all three are capacity building tools, which are aimed at the development of leadership skills.
  • All the three methods are dependent on career orientation for the development of future leaders in order to resolve the organizational challenges.
  • These methods carry behavioral changes in the practices of the leaders and improve the personal effectiveness of the leaders to improve their performance for the organizational purpose.
  • All the three methods are conducted by experienced and trained practitioners to critically analyze the performance of the leaders.
  • All these methods of leadership development have a positive commitment for the improvement of the leadership qualities.
  • All these methods are applicable for both civil, as well as, organizational leaders for their performance improvement.

Differences between Leadership Development Methods

  • The method of coaching is mainly concerned with the tasks of the leaders, mentoring is apprehensive with the implications which are outside the tasks, however, assessment center of 360 degree appraisal is concerned with the performance of the leaders on the job (Lance et al, 2004).
  • The main focus of coaching is on the proficiencies and performance of the leaders, mentoring emphasizes on the prospective and capabilities of leaders, however, assessment center focuses on the performance appraisal of the employees or the leaders.
  • The agenda of the coaching and mentoring method is set by the mangers and learners respectively, while the agenda of the assessment method is set by the evaluators.
  • With the coaching method, the short term requirements of the leaders are addressed, while with the mentoring, long term requirements of the leaders are fulfilled, nevertheless, the assessment method is an ongoing process, which assesses the employees' performance as a continuous process.
  • The feedback in coaching is generally explicit, while feedback in mentoring is implicit; though, feedback in assessment center is well -defined in written format.

Strengths & Weaknesses of Leadership Development Methods

The present organizational leaders at Qatar Petroleum are facing several organizational challenges in the existing business environment. These challenges are arising due to the assortment of workforce and their intellectual business background in which they are working. The business environment motivates and supports them to develop confrontation towards organization for developing the future leaders. The major challenges in front of leaders are the resistance to change, conflicts among business people, disagreement and environmental constraints. The implication of these leadership development methods for the resolution of these challenges can be evaluated with the assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of these methods.

Strengths: The coaching method is a personalized method, which focuses on each individual separately. It is thorough in nature, which covers all the aspects related to overall development of leaders. With this method, the development of the traits of new leader would be done in an overall manner through which, he would be able to fulfill individual, as well as, organizational goals with equal priority. Mentoring has a strong personal bond with the individuals to positively motivate them towards their overall development. This is a great strength for the development of the organizational leaders. Motivation would prove to be an effective way for the high potential employee of Qatar Petroleum to make him familiar with the desires, aspirations, needs and the control measures. The 360 degree feedback method of assessment center has a broad participation of the leaders or the other employees. The main base of this method is comprehensive in nature. This way, the strengths of these three methods show that there are quite effective for the current organizational leaders to resolve the environmental challenges at the best required level (Day 2001).

Weaknesses: The coaching is an expensive method of leadership development. This gives the feeling of perceived disgrace among the leaders, which gives them negative motivation for their overall development. Mentoring causes over dependency of the leaders over the mentors. The leaders want to take all the decision with the suggestions of their mentors. This reduces the efficiency of development of leaders. Mentoring also comprises jealousy of the peers. The 360 Degree appraisal has no guidance of the superior for making changes in the practices of the leaders. The level of efforts and time for changes is also not well defined.

Thus, there are several strengths and weakness in all these three methods of leadership development. The strengths of these methods are overcoming the weaker aspects. The combined efforts of all these three methods would be helpful for the production department's head of the company to develop the potential future leaders in such a way that they would be able to fulfill the future requirements of the company in the best possible way with the resolution of the potential critical challenges of the future business.


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