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    'Russia Has Many Strong Leaders, There's a Lot of Great Talent' - Scholar

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    Leadership Development is important for any type of organization. Sputnik spoke to Marc Dellaert – Managing Director of Center for Creative Leadership, in his current role as Managing Director for Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the CIS Region, Marc heads CCL’s Individual, Team and Organizational Leadership Development operations in the region.

    Sputnik: Could you tell us in more detail your thoughts on leadership development? What is it exactly?

    Marc Dellaert: Let me first introduce myself and the Center for Creative Leadership. We're a global provider present in Russia for 10 years; we only focus on research and development of leadership at all levels in organizations. We believe that leaders are made and not only born, and that people can develop the skills to better lead their organizations, their teams and themselves. What we do is help them get a deeper level of self-awareness and to work on themselves to become more effective leaders by developing those competences that are most critical for success. We do that through a variety of programs, assessments, coaching and caree counselling, other types of interventions that allow leaders to grow.

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    Sputnik: What benefits does it bring to individuals, companies and states?

    Marc Dellaert: Leaders are critical for the success of any organization and leadership is not limited to the top; there're functional leaders, middle managers, team leaders and individual contributors who are very important. They must also develop leadership skills and not only their managerial or technical knowledge, which means that they have the agility to learn and overcome setbacks, they're self-aware and also that they can properly influence and communicate.

    These are the four critical competences for every leader; there are other competences that come on top, such as leading change, leading innovation, etc. When leaders master these leadership competences, they'll be more successful and show more emotional and social intelligence. They'll have the ability to set the direction for the organization and also to create alignment on how to achieve the goals, and the commitment from the people and teams, which we call engagement. With that, an organization or a team will thrive and become more successful.

    Sputnik: Could you talk about the most successful practice in the field of leadership development? One that you are especially proud of?

    Marc Dellaert: We had many projects over the last 10 years here in Russia. We work for a variety of companies in different sectors — the public sector, oil and gas, pharma, financial services, industrial goods etc. Leadership is important for any type of organization. For example, we're helping a leading bank with the transformation of their leadership to become more effective and to become more prepared for digital transformation. We advise companies with understanding how ready they are for innovation and what they can do at the leadership level to be better prepared for the future and to build the right talent and leadership strategy for success.

    Sputnik: How would you assess the success of Leadership Development in Russia? 

    Marc Dellaert: This is a very good question. We always look at the culture. Russia has a very strong tradition, a national culture and, of course, leadership happens in the context of the national and organizational culture. Every organization has a certain style, a leadership style — how leaders talk, how people communicate, collaborate, take decisions, whether it is more formal or informal, etc.

    These are very important elements of a culture. We believe that by making leaders better at what they do, we not only help companies and organizations to grow, but we also help society to advance. Traditionally, Russia has many strong leaders and there's a lot of great talent that we see in our work.

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    We help this talent to become more effective in their leadership by creating awareness on negative behaviours of which they're not aware of. Executive presence is something very important for executive and senior leaders today; when they speak to their organization, the press or other stakeholders, everyone is looking at them. We make them more aware of that and we help them to communicate their vision for the future, to motivate and to communicate with impact.

    Sputnik: Do you have any suggestions for improvement? 

    Marc Dellaert: Any organization has the moral obligation to become better. That's the fundamental drive: we want to improve ourselves, our teams and organizations. At the Skolkovo Open Innovations Forum, I see a lot of talent and passion for innovation in Russia. It’s not only about having the vision but also about having the leadership skills to make innovation work. If we can leverage the talent in the companies that are present here and make them better prepared to lead their organisations, I am confident that the future will look bright!

    Sputnik: Are there any new approaches to leadership development training in the age of digital innovation breakthroughs?

    Marc Dellaert: Of course, there's a lot of technology that helps us in developing leaders; today we more and more use technology in our leadership development programs. We use psychometric assessments that measure the personality and the preferences of a person; and, of course, there's a lot of digitalization in our programs, such as e-learning and e-books, job aids, games and simulations, online content, etc.

    Fundamentally, leadership development is about people who transform in the better version of themselves. Very important in this process is to work with an experienced coach or mentor. Knowledge transfer can be done via technology but there's also this human factor, the change of mindset, the change of attitudes, for which we must have people surrounding us who help us to grow as leaders.

    The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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