Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Leader of the Pack

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Leader of the Pack

Article excerpt

Strategic leadership programs

develop talent and maximize

company growth

The recent Enron and WorldCom scandals have demonstrated the need for businesses to rethink and redefine the role of leadership in their organizations.

In the past, leadership has been defined in terms of individual traits rather than institutional ones and as a role reserved for those who were born to lead. However, Warren G. Bennis, author and leadership guru cautioned, "The most dangerous leadership myth is leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born."

A recent global study by the World Economic Forum and worldwide commercial consultant Booz Allen & Hamilton found that leaders of successful companies share several characteristics. According to the study, effective leaders change what they do, not who they are, and people trust them because their behavior is consistent. They are active listeners, involve others in decision making where appropriate and show respect for followers by telling them the truth.

Surprisingly, the business world's unquenchable thirst for leadership and the popularity of leadership programs has not necessarily translated into successful initiatives. Key among the reasons why leadership training fails is the inability of such programs to penetrate organizations that either do not want to change or fail to recognize the need for change. Mechanisms do not exist to bring leadership skills back to the office. All too often, approaches simply reflect the nearsighted philosophies of the training guru.

In their article, "21st Century Leadership: Redefining Management Education: Educating Managers in the Modern Era," Mark David Nevins and Stephen A. Stumpf, both of Booz Allen & Hamilton, suggested traditional degree-granting programs and professional schools as well as tested methods such as books, lectures and case studies will not be sufficient to address the leadership challenges of the next business era. They said traditional models fall short in their ability to link the knowledge, skills and concepts covered to the practice of leadership within actual work organizations.

Instead, effective professional development in the future should focus less on rote learning of tools and study of cases, and more on experiences guiding learners to ask such questions as "What can go wrong?" and "What might the situation be if we projected the current information out 15 years?"

According to Dr. Jay Conger, London Business School professor and a senior research scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations, effective leadership training depends on four key factors: personal growth, skill building, feedback and conceptual awareness.

Conger, author of Building Leaders: How Successful Companies Develop the Next Generation, explained for leadership training to be effective, participants must be given the opportunity to practice what they have learned. As with anything generating a positive return, there must be commitment from the top down. Senior executives must support programs and participants in word and in action. Corporate leaders must be willing to walk the walk.

Risk Not, Grow Not

When considering property management leaders today, several luminaries come to mind. Andrew Farcus of Insignia/ESG, Inc., AMO revolutionized the way property development and acquisition can be financed. Jim Rouse, founder of the company that bears his name, created the festival shopping center and helped to foster a rebirth of the inner city that continues to reverberate throughout the nation. Sam Zell of Equity Commercial and Equity Residential and Terry Considine of AIMCO, AMO are two leaders who transformed real estate from a regional business and put it in a national spotlight. …

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