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Leadership Developement

Leadership Development Definition

There are well over 120,000 books and texts on the subject of leadership and leadership development. Some 3,000 new titles are added annually. Thousands of research, scientific and academic articles, whitepapers and case studies tackle the topic as well.

Needless to say there are many, and often differing, leadership development definitions. Through experience with clients and synthesizing some top leading authorities, we at L.E.A.P.S. do, however, subscribe to a set of core assumptions in approaching a definition:

We posit that :
  • Leadership development expands the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles within organizations.
  • Leadership roles are those that facilitate execution of a company's strategy through: building alignment, winning mindshare and growing the capabilities of others.
  • Leadership roles may be formal, with the corresponding authority to make decisions and take responsibility, or they may be informal roles with little official authority (e.g., a member of a team who influences team engagement, purpose and direction; a lateral peer who must listen and negotiate through influence).
Leadership Skills Can Be Taught

The empirical research of Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman has contributed to L.E.A.P.S.' second major assumption: i.e. leadership skills can be taught. Just as people aren't all born with the ability to become the next professional athlete, preeminent biochemical engineer, or piano virtuoso, people aren't all born with the ability to lead. Different personal characteristics can help or hinder a person's leadership effectiveness; some require formalized programs for developing leadership capacity. This is not to say that everyone can be skilled to the same level, but essential leadership skills are within everyone's grasp.

Leadership Development is a Journey

Our third assumption is that leadership development is a journey and many equally viable paths are available to the traveler. There is no one best way to lead, nor is there a single best leadership model. In differing situations there may be differing expectations of leaders and different practices that make them effective. BTS is model-agnostic when working with our clients to accommodate a set of preferred outcomes and a broad range of approaches to thought leadership for developing leaders. What does matter is the learning approach adopted when developing leadership skills.

Leadership Development Taught in Safe Environment

Not all leadership development leads to building leadership behavior. Experiential learning provides the greatest rate of success for transforming high potentials into high functioning leaders. Emerging leaders must be provided the opportunity to practice - in a "safe environment" - to truly build leadership competence. BTS leverages our discovery based approaches of Business Simulations, Scenario Simulation, Engage Map™ learning and blended on-line systems and tools to provide exceptional leadership development that changes behavior.

Zenger, J. & Folkman, J. (2002). The Extraordinary Leader. New York: McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.