Leadership development and what it isn’t

April 12, 2017 by Wally Bock

Great leadership development is a lot of things, but there are several important things that it’s not. Here are four of them.

Leadership development is not training

Training is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s an important one, but it’s not the only one. Some experts claim that leaders learn seventy percent of their skills on the job and twenty percent from other people. Training gets ten percent. Whether you agree with the exact percentage or not, it’s clear that training is only a small part of the mix.

Leadership development is not quick

It’s like planting a tree. What you do today won’t mature for years, perhaps decades. It’s about growing leaders, not building them. You can speed up a building process, but not growing. So, we’re talking generations, not calendar quarters.

Leadership development is not a program

It’s not something HR does, it’s something leaders do for each other. HR has important responsibilities, to be sure, but it can’t shoulder the whole burden. In the best companies, developing leaders is part of the culture and every leader is responsible for it.

Leadership development is not measurable

This is important. There are important things you can measure, but you can’t measure the most important things. Statistics work for some things, but they’re easily gamed. You don’t have to make do with hope, though. To get it right, you must do the hard work of frequent assessment and you must make judgements about your people and your program.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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