London-based business consultant Josh Cote believes that anyone can learn to be effective leaders, because leadership is developed – not discovered.
After spending 18 years consulting, Josh Cote has witnessed the best and the worst of leadership styles, and he strongly contests the notion that great leaders are ‘born’. Its importance, however, is not argued – and Mr. Cote believes every successful organization must have successful leadership structures in place in order to maximise efficiency.
“Everything rises and falls due to leadership – it’s the key to building great teams, successful organisations, and great businesses. I can’t recall a single business I’ve worked with that didn’t have at least one individual in the hierarchy who could be classified as a great leader,” argues Josh Cote.
Cote has previously spoken at great length about the importance of identifying and nurturing leadership material in organisations by focusing on potential over current ability, where he suggests looking for a desire to grow in an employee’s attitude. He references an old story that describes as tourist traveling through a picturesque village, where the tourist asks an old man if any great leaders were been born here – without looking up, the old man replies they haven’t – only babies.
Following on from this concept that leadership is developed, not discovered, Josh Cote has identified 3 key catalysts that he believes companies must acknowledge in order to develop strong leaders.
The first facilitator is the environment, as leadership is about degrees of influence. A good environment for developing leadership will always make learning a priority. Cote argues that we all have the power to change ourselves or change our surroundings, and that true leaders not only know who they are, but also know where they belong – or come from.
The second catalyst is exposure, or finding the inspiration to become a great leader. Cote argues that continuous professional development through reading and refreshing skills primes an individual for new challenges, and is a great motivator. The third and final element for developing strong leaders is resources. Companies need to ask what more they can be doing to provide individuals with the correct tools to teach leadership, and amplify a person’s leadership potential.
Consultant Josh Cote believes that it is less expensive to retain and develop home-grown talent than to hire it from the outside, and recommends creating in-house development programs that single out high-potential employees and put them through mentorships, management classes, and other courses.
“The end goal for developing strong leaders is to elevate candidates above any single function to give them a broader vision of the company,” states Josh Cote.