Leadership has become a hot topic in the world of business. The development of the next generation leaders requires fostering throughout their lives the proper self-image, decision making patterns, and ethical approaches that reduce personal bias and challenge improperly rooted premises. The use of evidence-based leadership offers an opportunity to create more logical thinking patterns that helps counter the natural biases that make their way into decisions that impact a great many people. Using such data is not paint-by-the-numbers type leadership but one that uses the available information in new ways that check alternatives and incorporates scientific knowledge.
Evidence based leadership is the concept that leadership is based on the ability to take information from the environment and use this information to make adequate decisions that impact a large group of people. It is possible to define such a concept as, “making decision through conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of four course of information: practitioner expertise and judgment, evidence from the local context, crucial evaluation of the best valuable research evidence, and the perspective people who might be affected by the decision (Briner & Rousseau, 2011). Leadership entails a wider scope of stakeholders and influence based on the decisions but does not ignore the systematic influence of management techniques.
Such leaders do not simply make decisions premised upon affiliations or personal needs but use evidence to guide their decisions to more accurate conclusions. In such a scenario, the use of evidence acts as check and balance that helps to ensure that the best decisions are made by limiting of personal bias within those decisions. They draw from their experiences, use research, understand the context of the information, the likely outcome of such decisions, and the people who are impacted by such decisions. It is the thorough analysis of the factors and the possible outcomes before decisions are finalized that increases utility.
Higher education can help train students to be better leaders at a time when leadership is lacking. Some have argued that schools have not done a great job of training on management skills in order to develop leadership skills (Mintzberg & Gosling, 2002). Others have suggested that research in business schools should be more analytical by nature allowing for a stronger theoretical underpinning and a more sophisticated methodology (Gordon and Howell, 1959). Each of these indicated that the ability to analyze and use theory to help guide decisions can be beneficial in rounding out of leadership decisions.
Leadership is about expanding one’s skills and experiences over the life development of the individual. “Every form of growth or stage of development in the life cycle that promotes, encourages, and assists the expansion of knowledge and expertise required to optimize one’s leadership potential and performance” (Brungardt, 1997). Leadership entails the processes of continuous growth and development. Using data in fostering that growth creates greater levels of structure and logical thinking patterns that can influence the mental framework toward future decisions.
The development of such leadership requires a transformation of self-efficacy. Leadership needs self-insight and self-knowledge in order to make appropriate decisions and work well with others. If we think about how self-image, data for decision-making, and our beliefs in influence our decisions, we can create new ways of viewing our environments and may find such concepts to be beneficial in enhancing current leaders and fostering future ones.
The use of research and data in decision-making helps us to avoid those fallacies that have created poor self-concepts that influence decisions that have a profound and systemic influence on people. Accurate and effective leadership requires a level of inductive and deductive reasoning. It is the ability to view ourselves, the information available, and the outcomes in a manner that benefits businesses and other stakeholders in the most effective ways possible.
As the nation seeks paths to growth and internal development for future sustainability it will need new ways of viewing and enhancing leadership. Leaders are human and make the same mistakes other humans make in their decision-making processes. This means that leaders are influenced by their social networks, self-image, financial stakeholders and many other pressures in their lives. By using research and evidence, such leaders can provide a better way of managing by using critical thinking to help round out their personal motivations. Such information also helps to create more accurate environmental understandings that further develop the decision making process to be aware of alternative solutions not previously considered.
Briner, R & Rousseau, D. (2011). Evidence-based I-O psychology: Not there yet. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice. 4.
Brungardt, C. (1997). The making of leaders: A review of the research in leadership development and education. Journal
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Gordon, R. & Howell, J. (1959). Higher education in business. New York: Columbia University Press.
Mintzberg, H & Gosling, (2002). Educating managers beyond borders. Academy oí Management Learning and Education.