Leadership Development: Leaders for Everywhere

February 19, 2014 by Wally Bock

“We were talking about the top executives in his organisation when my interviewee sighed.’I just don’t know why anyone would want to take on those roles.’

I stopped cold. This talented professional was clearly on his company’s ‘high potential’ list – they were investing heavily in his development in all the traditional ways.”

That’s how Tammy Erickson describes a situation I’ve heard a lot about lately. Younger workers just don’t seem to want to do the work that bosses do. The leadership development program in the company where she had that encounter is probably like the leadership development program in most companies. It develops leaders who are responsible for the performance of a group.

Most leadership development programs are designed to prepare leaders for the formal leadership positions in the organization. They’re not designed to prepare the people Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman describe as “the leaders you’ve been overlooking.”

“anyone who has worked in organizations knows that there are also people without managerial titles, and who have no direct reports, and yet wield great influence and make critical contributions to the firm.”

Those people can lead or not as they choose. They’re not accountable for group performance. They need development, too, but something different from those permanent and positional leaders.

Those people need to develop skills that help them present their views more effectively. Those are often called “sales” skills. They involve understanding the context, the different people involved, and how those people make decisions.

Those “overlooked” leaders are often the glue that holds the organization together in a rapidly changing competitive environment. They need to develop the skills that make them more effective so they can help the organization and formal leadership succeed.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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