Leadership Development 101

Leadership Development 101I kick off a series of three articles on leadership development beginning with the most appropriate Leadership Development 101. In this context I am looking at the training/development mystery, specifically, The Leadership “Training” Dream. 

Leadership Development 101

This is what you need to know to begin Leadership Development 101; before spending countless hours in the training room to less than stellar outcomes.

There is a dream that pervades organizations and senior leadership. I call it the leadership training dream. The big delusion here is the belief that you can build leadership in an individual and an organization with training alone. 

Training is not development but the terms have some how become synonymous. Perhaps making leadership a commodity has clouded the distinction between training and development. There is more to this conundrum than simply definition of terms.

Training does not produce the results that “trainers” would have you believe. Leadership training is a major reason why everywhere you look or listen you see and hear such pleas as: “we are in a leadership deficit crisis and the world is in exigent need of more good leaders now.” The expectations of training exceeds the actual result. Another sign of how terribly off-course we are is right now is there are probably more trainers than there are good leaders.

What’s going on here is an attempt at a quick fix; replacing short-term leadership training for the long-term investment in leadership development. The result looks forced like trying to stuff a square peg in a round hole. Training is a great tool for teaching someone how to use a software program. Training is a task. It tests your patience to sit in a room all day and be indoctrinated with “best practices.”

The American Society for Training and Development has even picked up on the crystal clear fact that training is not synonymous with development and recently changed their name to the Association for Talent Development.  That is Leadership Development 101; don’t rely on training to make great leaders

After years and years the supposed apex of “training and development” has come to realize the reality.  Leadership is too important and complex, too dynamic and too demanding to be left to the attempts of linear, blending to the norm training.
The only way to begin meeting the ever-increasing demands of the future is to develop good leaders today. Leadership development is the path of mastery. It tests your courage.

Development requires engagement; your unique contribution is harnessed to the leadership developmental process, which is full of context, nuance, and connection. Development is a fluid, future-focused progression of empowerment and growth. When leadership is growing you can bet the organization will be growing too.

The only dream around leadership development is the dream of getting to the top and that dream works as long as you do.

Stay tuned because in my next post (Leadership Development 102) we will discuss how to approach leadership development and explore the “why.” Why develop at all? This post will be useful for new leaders and senior leaders alike.

© Brian Braudis 2018, All rights reserved

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