Leadership development and the Long View

May 23, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is one of the most important things that a company does. Alas, we don’t see results right away, so we keep trying quick fixes. That thought came to mind when I read Sonia McDonald’s article, “Why leadership development training has not been effective.” Here’s the part that caught my eye.

“In my experience, organisations offer leadership training as a quick-fix solution, which means it can only ever skim the surface when it comes to meeting needs. The more money you throw at it, the better leaders you’ll have, right? Wrong. Organisations have been busy churning out instant leaders without paying attention to what happens once the training is complete. Leaders aren’t created through training courses.”

There are no “instant leaders.” Leadership development is a process, not an event.

Leadership development is a process

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a process as “a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result.” That’s how we develop leaders, through gradual changes. Training drives some of the changes, but so do coaching, experience, and reflection. The process isn’t simple, and it isn’t quick.

Leadership development is never done

Good leaders are always working to get better. First, they must adjust to a leadership role. That takes a year or more. Next, they master the craft of leadership. That takes a decade or more. But leaders aren’t done even then. They develop while taking on new positions and challenges.

There are sure to be changes in leadership development in the years and decades ahead. AI will be part of the mix. So will new training methods. But leadership is a human, social activity and developing competency will always take time.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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