Leadership development: No superheroes needed

April 18, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is always about people and people haven’t changed much in the last few thousand years. The dress and the tools and the challenges have changed, but people are the same. It’s important to remember that when you think about the development challenge.

Leadership development is about developing willing people into competent leaders

The challenge is to develop willing people into competent leaders. Those willing people will develop the skills to do a kind of work, called leadership. They don’t need to be a Superman and show up with amazing powers. And our challenge isn’t to create a leadership Batman, capable of superhuman performance. Regular people with a willingness to learn to lead will do just fine.

Our challenge is to help those aspiring leaders develop into leaders for a very different future. Sometimes we think that’s a big deal, but it’s always been the case.

Leadership development is about developing competent leaders for a different future

Peter Drucker reminded us that the future will be different from the present and impossible to predict. All those articles and ideas about the kinds of leader that we’ll need are just guesses.

Here’s what we know. If we help aspiring leaders develop their human skills, they’ll take care of the rest. They’ll handle opportunities and threats and challenges we can’t even imagine. Our challenge is to help them do it with and through the people they lead.


There’s an excellent article on Chief Learning Officer that captures a lot of the challenge. The author, Mike Prokopeak phrases the challenge this way: “The stakes are high. Leaders face a complex and ever-evolving business environment that can overwhelm them professionally and personally. Those charged with developing the next generation of leaders have a dizzying set of theories and methods to choose from to develop leaders.”

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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