• Kevin Nourse, PhD

Research Brief: A 30,000' View of the Evolution of Leadership Development

Two researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) have written a compelling article that

summarizes past and present trends in leadership development, as well as their predictions for the future in approaches to developing leaders. For those interested in developing leaders, the article provides a terrific 30,000’ view of the research.

Whereas past efforts to develop leaders have focused on classroom-based training to address gaps in knowledge and skills to help them become transformation leaders, the current focus in practice is oriented toward helping leaders take action by tapping their strengths. In addition, the writers argue that current best practices of developing leaders continue to rest upon competency modeling to define what constitutes leadership at various levels, use of leaders to develop other leaders, and moving beyond random development events to a more integrated and systematic approach. Finally, Hernez-Broome and Hughes argue that the future holds greater focus on four key competencies (strategy, managing change, building relationships and developing others), globalization of leaders' skillsets, an emphasis on integrity and character, and measurement of return on the investment in development.

Missing from their analysis are several key aspects of leadership that are more critical than ever:

  • Given ever-increasing use of teams in organizations, the ability of leaders to create and sustain a high-performing team,

  • Increasing complexity and adversity for organizations translates to a greater need for leaders to function well in the midst of crisis, and

  • Importance of organizational sustainability that reflects awareness of political, financial, environmental, and human factors

Source: Hernez-Broome, G., & Hughes, R. L. (2004). Leadership Development: past, present, and future. Human Resource Planning, 27.

© 2014 Kevin Nourse, PhD



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