Leader Development

83384_maneuver_center_of_excellence_one_force_one_fightThe following is from LEADER DEVELOPMENT course from the Maneuver Self Study Program by the U.S. Army –

Why is the study of leader development important?

Do not assume that you already “know” what leader development is. To paraphrase numerous articles and books on developmental systems, three things must be present for a developmental system is to be effective: Intention, ownership and accountability. Intention is the organization’s desired outcome of development. The organization must fill in the blank of the following sentence, or the developmental activity will be just that-activity with no purpose: “We want to develop leaders who _____. Ownership means that senior leaders of the organization establish leader development as a priority, not just in writing, but in word, deed, and action. Ownership also relates to the individuals’ within the organization being prepared and are willing to develop. Accountability entails senior members being held accountable for how well they have developed those junior to them (subordinates), and individuals being held personally accountable for their own growth”. (http://www.benning.army.mil/mssp/Leader%20Developement/)

I think this is a strong paragraph and succinctly summarizes the requirements for leadership. It is important to bear in mind here that being active does not necessarily mean that you are leading.

“Intention is the organization’s desired outcome of development.”

We want to develop leaders who… continue to serve the community by providing martial arts education, continue to learn and develop their understanding of the applications for principles and concepts beyond the physical aspects of the martial arts, are committed to being a role model for new students.

This sounds easy…well, maybe not…but these outcomes can get lost in the smaller individual goals and desires that a student may have. It is important to note here, though, that the concept expressed matches what Senior Chief Master Marshall Parnell (USA Haidong Gumdo Association) comments on regularly. He states that he loves to train with our “TEAM’ here in Minnesota. That comment runs so much deeper than the words but few recognize it.

“Ownership means that senior leaders of the organization establish leader development as a priority, not just in writing, but in word, deed, and action. Ownership also relates to the individuals’ within the organization being prepared and are willing to develop.”

Not recognizing the depth of that statement comes from not choosing to take ownership of the organization. I’ve stated several times to my students that the school is truly theirs, not mine. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and insights if they didn’t come to class.

LeadingNow I can understand that some will hesitate because they think that it would be disrespectful to “take” the lead in what happens within the school and how it grows within the community. This is misguided, though, as it can only grow and develop by their activity. Simple things like wearing school clothing in public and participating in public events (demonstrations) set the tone for how welcoming the school is. It also shows potential students what kind of school we are.

**Side note: All martial arts, schools and teachers attract students that fit personalities. Because of this none of us are truly competitors. I have no problem referring potential students to schools where their personality may fit better.**

How  we grow is completely based upon how students take ownership of the school. It shouldn’t be something just for you. If you enjoy the class and training, there are probably several family members and friends that would, too, as they would have similar personalities.

Now, another aspect of ownership is the operations side. While there are things that will be up to the master instructor to manage, many things can be taken on by the school leaders. Setting up demonstrations or seminars/workshops where you have connections is a great example. Picking up special topics (i.e. personal protection, bullying) that interest you will not only deepen your understanding of the topic but benefit those involved and the school.

A personal pet peeve is when a student says “We should do [blank].” but look like a deer in the headlights when I tell them “You thought of it. Go ahead, set it up.” I know that I’m not the easiest to convince for doing things but I am working on it.

“Accountability entails senior members being held accountable for how well they have developed those junior to them (subordinates), and individuals being held personally accountable for their own growth”.

The two aspects of this affect different portions of the school. The first falls into the last section. Students should be stepping up to develop, coordinate and run things that benefit the school. There are only so many things that the master instructor can manage beyond teaching. It does end up falling to them, though.

DSC_0310The second shows up on the floor. The rank group was told to work on a form and the first question is “Do we have to work together?” How selfish is that? When students don’t openly offer to help, the respect level drops in the whole school. When students are only there for their own practice, the group suffers.

Senior students should be looking around a bit during class to see if others are struggling. make it visible that they’ll help and answer questions. If you have “been there, done that”, then you should be helping those who are there now.

In conclusion, this rambling comes from my point of view where students must CHOOSE to be the leaders. I have resisted “assigning” leadership roles as I don’t want them to be done halfway or seen as a reward. This follows suit with my “Demo Team” being made up of every one who puts in the effort and can make that day. The good of the school and the “Thanks” for doing it are the only benefits. It is too bad that many need more recognition and back patting than this.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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One reply

  1. Rose Heisel says:

    I think you are totally correct on this and I am glad you put it out there. I saw it a long time ago that there are students meant for each instructor. I too would have no trouble passing a student your way(and I have done that) It would only make sense. I have an unique group of people in my class that are really suited for my teaching ways. I have helped so many make big achievements in their lives and reached personal goals. Its all about the students and helping them in all areas of their lives. As some of us know, Haidong Gumdo, does much more than provide an interesting way to work out. It makes things happen in your every day life because it sets you up for success.

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