Leadership development can be defined as any action that promotes or improves the leadership qualities of an individual or an organization. Leadership can be likened to talents such as singing or playing soccer and therefore, not all of us are born with the ability to lead. One’s personal character traits can be a hindrance or promoter to the effective leadership. Hindrance character traits can be dropped and the individual work on developing their leadership skills. This may require a high level of focus, practice and persistence just like learning any other rare skill say like playing a musical instrument. Some of the personal character traits associated with leadership include motivation to learn, self monitoring and evaluation, internal locus of control, high need to achieve and openness to experience, (Chand & Katou 2007).
Leadership development has also been proved to take place in properly structured programs. These programs could be individual or collective. Organizations use collective leadership development programs to transform their employees by strengthening individual efforts of instilling leadership skills. Mayo Clinic views leadership as central to the organizational success. This is why they are committed to developing better individual leaders and most importantly develop leadership among the employees.
The organization’s leadership development initiatives offer performance support as well as on the ground skills application by use of ways such as mentoring and coaching. Putting employees on a real business situation gives them the necessary skills and opportunities to deal with real-time organizational issues. The main aim of these leadership development programs is to make the employees able to take the most appropriate actions at the right time. It provides them with opportunities to learn from their work without taking them away for trainings.
Measurement and refers to the evaluation of the employee performance. This is normally done by the supervisors but can still be conducted by peers in the same level of operation. Essentially, organizations set a number of performance standards for their employees. During the performance appraisal or evaluation, managers and supervisors get to know which employees attained their set standards and those who did not. This human resource management activity can be extremely helpful in improving the entire organizational performance if properly conducted. Employees who surpass the set standards should be rewarded to encourage them keep up the performance. Managers should instead of quarrelling the underperforming staff, listen to their complaints first. This will help a lot in determining the true reason for their underperformance hence provide a solution to the problem. Mentoring and motivating these employees is extremely valuable and can help them in achieving their newly set performance standards, (Arthur & Boyles 2007).
However, performance appraisal is not that easy in organizations like Mayo Clinic, which cherish the teamwork spirit. This calls for a different procedure in evaluating team performance. Mayo tries to achieve this objective without undermining individual development. Particularly, the human resource management department aligns and links employee performance plans with the goals and objectives set by the agency’s performance plans. Therefore, performance management helps them clarify goals for individuals, teams and the entire organization and also directs everyone towards the desired goals, (Cascio 2003). These efforts promote and give rise to goal achievement.
The first step Mayo uses in team performance evaluation is the identification of performance elements. In the context of performance appraisal, elements could be said to be assignments or responsibilities that teams are mandated with and which can help in the performance management. Once these elements are identified, the evaluators classify them into critical, non-critical and additional. Failure to execute critical elements means that the entire team’s performance is unacceptable. However, non-critical elements cannot be used in summarizing the team’s performance as a fail or pass. However, consistent failure is unacceptable and may classify the team as failed. On the other hand, additional elements just give feedback on the team performance and help in setting new goals without determination of failure or pass, (Bartel 2004). Team evaluators go ahead and study team behavior without ignoring any minor details such as attendance to meetings. This gives a comprehensive report on the team’s performance, which is used to encourage members keep up the spirit or pull up their socks.