Leadership development

Leadership development

Leadership development refers to any activity that enhances the quality of leadership within an individual or organization. These activities have ranged from MBA style programs offered at university business schools to high-ropes courses and executive retreats.

Developing Individual Leaders

Traditionally, leadership development has focused on developing the leadership abilities and attitudes of individuals.

People are not all born with the same potential to lead well anymore than people do not all have the same ability to play football like Zinedine Zidane or sing like Luciano Pavarotti. Different personal characteristics can help or hinder a person's leadership effectiveness [See for example The Leadership Development Handbook, [http://www.ccl.org Center for Creative Leadership] and Organisational Behaviour, 4th ed, by Stephen Robbins, Bruce Millet & Terry Waters-Marsh, published by Prentice Hall] and require formalized programs for developing leadership competencies [ see for example, Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change, [http://www.bestpracticeinstitute.org Best Practice Institute] , by Louis Carter, Marshall Goldsmith, and David Ulrich by Jossey Bass Pfeiffer.] Yet, everyone can develop their leadership effectiveness. Achieving such development takes focus, practice and persistence more akin to learning a musical instrument than reading a book [See for example The Leadership Development Guide [http://www.leadershipdevelopment.edu.au/Content_Common/pg-guide.seo Australian Leadership Development Centre] ] .

Classroom style training and associated reading is effective in helping leaders to know more about what is involved in leading well. Yet knowing what to do and doing what you know are two very different outcomes, as highlighted by management expert Henry Mintzberg. It is estimated that as little 15% of learning from traditional classroom style training results in sustained behavioral change within the workplace [See S. Cromwell & J. Kolb 2004, “An examination of work-environment support factors affectingtransfer of supervisory skills training to the work place”, Human Resource DevelopmentQuarterly, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 449-71.] .

The success of leadership development efforts has been linked to three variables [See Baldwin, T. & Ford, K. (1988), "Transfer Of Training: A Review And Directions For Future Research', "Personnel Psychology", Spring, Vol. 41 Issue 1, p63-105] :
* Individual learner characteristics
* The quality and nature of the leadership development program
* Genuine support for behavioural change from the leader's supervisor

Officer training academies such as the US Military Academy at West Point, go to great lengths to only accept candidates who show the highest potential to lead well [Organizational Behavior, 4th ed, by Stephen Robbins, Bruce Millet & Terry Waters-Marsh, published by Prentice Hall] . Personal characteristics that associated with successful leadership development include leader motivation to learn, a high achievement drive and personality traits such as openness to experience, an internal locus of control, self-monitoring.

Development is also more likely to occur when the design of the development program [See for example The Leadership Development Handbook, [http://www.ccl.org Center for Creative Leadership] and [http://www.leadershiptools.com leadership tools] ] :
* Integrates a range of developmental experiences over a set period of time (eg 6-12 months). These experiences may include 360 degree feedback, experiential classroom style programs, business school style coursework,executive coaching, reflective journaling, mentoring and more.
* Involve goal setting, following an assessment of key developmental needs and then evaluate the achievement of goals after a given time period.

Among key concepts in leadership development one may find:- Experiential learning: positioning the individual in the focus of the learning process, going through the four stages of experiential learning as formulated by David A. Kolb: 1. concrete experience 2. observation and reflection 3. forming abstract concept 4. testing in new situtions.- Self efficacy: The right training and coaching should bring about 'Self efficacy' in the trainee, as Albert Bandura formulated: A persons belief about his capabilities to produce effects - Visioning: Developing the ability to formulate a clear image of the aspired future of an organization, unit.

Developing Leadership At A Collective Level

More recently organizations have come to understand that leadership can also be developed by strengthening the connection between and alignment of the efforts of individual leaders and the systems through which they influence organizational operations. This has led to a differentiation between leader development and leadership development [See for example The Leadership Development Handbook, [http://www.ccl.org Center for Creative Leadership] ; and [http://www.business.smu.edu.sg/Faculty/organisational_behavior/davidday.asp David V. Day (2000) Leadership development: A review in context. The Leadership Quarterly, 11, 581-614.] ] . Leader development focuses on the development of the leader, such as the personal attributes desired in a leader, desired ways of behaving, ways of thinking or feeling. In contrast, leadership development focuses on the development of leadership as a process. This will include the interpersonal relationships, social influence process, and the team dynamics between the leader and his/her team at the dyad level, the contextual factors surrounding the team such as the perception of the organizational climate and the social network linkages between the team and other groups in the organization.

One practical example of developing leadership, specifically so as to influence an organization's safety culture is described by Burman & Evans [See Burman, R. & Evans, A.J. (2008) Target Zero: A Culture of safety, Defence Aviation Safety Centre Journal 2008, 22-27. http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/849892B2-D6D2-4DFD-B5BD-9A4F288A9B18/0/DASCJournal2008.pdf] .

Both forms of development may mutually influence each other, as exemplified in the concept of "Deep Change" in Robert E. Quinn's 1996 book of the same title.

Leadership development can build on the development of individuals (including followers) to become leaders. In addition, it also needs to focus on the interpersonal linkages between the individuals in the team.

In the belief that the most important resource that an organization possesses is the people that comprise the organization, some organizations address the development of these resources (even including the leadership).

Succession planning

The development of "high potentials" to effectively take over the current leadership when their time comes to exit their positions. This type of leadership development usually requires the extensive transfer of an individual between departments. In many multinationals, it usually requires international transfer and experience to build a future leader. Succession planning requires a sharp focus on organization's future and vision, in order to align leadership development with the future the firm aspires to create. Thus successive leadership development is based not only on knowledge and history but also on a dream. For such a plan to be successful, a screening of future leadership should be based not only on "what we know and have" but also on "what we aspire to become".Persons involved in succession planning should be current leadership representing the vision and HR executives having to translate it all into a program. According to Meir Jacob and Amit Cohen (1995) three critical dimenssions should be considered: 1. Skills and knowledge 2. Role perception and degree of acceptance of leading role 3. Self efficacy (Albert Bandura). These three dimensions should be a basis of any ledaership succession programme.


ee also

* Organizational empowerment
* Organization development
* Executive development
* Executive education

External links

* [http://www.revanscenter.org Revans Center USA - Action Learning, Leadership & Management Development Organisation based in the US]
* [http://www.the-chiefexecutive.com/features/feature1854/ Article on CEO Supercoaching]
* [http://www.christopheravery.com/blog/ Christopher Avery - Leadership Development]
* [http://actionlearningassociates.co.uk Information and resources for the use of Action Learning Sets in leadership development]
* [http://uniqueleaders.org/mt/blog/index.html Insight on Great Business Leaders - Articles on leadership and management]
* [http://www.rmponweb.org RMP Knowledge Excellence Centre]

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