Leadership isn’t just for leaders anymore. Top companies are beginning to understand that sustaining peak performance requires a commitment to developing leaders at all levels. Management experts Drs. Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard have defined leadership as “working with and through others to achieve objectives.”
To meet the demands of today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, people at all levels are being asked to step up and assume leadership behaviors. As retired Harvard Business School Professor John P. Kotter explains in the Summer 2004 issue of strategy+business, this means we must “create 100 million new leaders” throughout society.
Companies are investing millions of dollars annually in leadership development training to meet this challenge. Results are positive: Studies show companies that excel at developing leaders tend to achieve higher long-term profitability (Marc Effron and Robert Gandossy in Leading the Way: Three Truths from the Top Companies for Leaders, John Wiley & Sons, 2004).
But it seems there are as many approaches to leadership development as there are leadership developers. An Amazon.com search for leadership development books reveals 12,580 titles. Most leadership programs have a half-life of only a few days or weeks after sessions end. Few incorporate adequate transfer mechanisms to bring leadership skills back to the office.
Programs offer everything from whitewater-rafting trips and bungee-jumping to encounter groups and 360-degree assessments. Executive coaching is a popular development tool, and companies are increasingly investing in these individualized programs.
It is necessary to ask if any of this is working—and, if so, how?
This is a synopsis of a longer article titled “How to Develop Leaders? Practice, Practice, Practice.” It is available for purchase with full reprint rights which means that you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences. There are 3 versions of this article: 2000 words, 1000 words and 600 words (approximate word counts).
The full 2000-word article discusses the following concepts:
Can We Really Train Leaders?
Four Types of Leadership Programs:
1. Personal growth programs
2. Skill-building programs
3. Feedback programs
4. Conceptual awareness programs
Designing Better Leadership Programs
Following Up with Feedback
Leadership Is a Contact Sport
Create a Constellation of Leadership Development Systems
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All word lengths are approximate.