What is Leadership? It is important that we dwell into this enquiry before we can apply Theatre based techniques to Leadership Development. I must confess that I am just a student of Leadership and it is a fairly complex subject, in my opinion. So, I will rely on the experts.
Warren Bennis is widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership Studies. In his famous book “On Leadership”, he wrote
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
Translating vision to reality involves various steps – creating the vision, enrolling the organisation into the vision, empowering the employees to fulfil the vision, and finally ensuring that the required actions needed to fulfil the vision are taken.
We now look at another aspect of Leadership. Are Leaders born or can they be created? Quoting Warren Bennis again
The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.
That is the reason for all the research happening around leadership development and the various initiatives around this discipline.
The next question to delve in is – How do we “make” leaders? How do we develop leadership skills? Once again, I will rely on what Warren Bennis wrote in his seminal work “Crucibles of Leadership
The skills required to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever are the same ones that make for extraordinary leaders.
He has painstakingly shown in the article how leaders are created in the moments of extreme adversity as they pass through what he calls as “crucible events”.
A crucible is, by definition, a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity.
We are taking a lead from these findings to design a cutting edge Leadership Development Initiative to “make” leaders using Theatre as a medium. Our endeavour is to create a crucible event using Theatre, which will be less painful that real life event but will still be as real to create the transformation required to be successful. This will then be naturally available to them at work.
We are now very close to unveiling this Leadership Development Initiative. I would love to hear your comments and thoughts about what I have shared till now.