The Myth of Leadership Development

Developing leaders is a major strategic action for most big organizations as well as a multi-million dollar business for training businesses, consultants and universities. But if we ‘ve got the significance of leadership wrong, much of the investment may be wasted. There are at least 3 problems with contemporary leadership theory:

1. Leaders are described as occupying positions of authority over others , meaning that leadership can’t be shown by you until you are in charge of individuals.

2. The idea that leadership is a learnable skill set fosters the perception that you just can not be a leader without training.


The bottom line is that leadership, as now thought, is an exclusive club for management level workers, something that those at the front line can only aspire to once they develop the important skills and maturity. This can be a colossal waste of talent.

Dispersed Leadership and Employee Participation

A different vision of direction portrays it as something all employees can do. However, when direction is defined only as promoting a much better means, then all workers who take a stand on any occupation-related dilemma, even in a very local, small scale fashion, can show leadership with their coworkers and upward with their managers. Because being a leader is glamorous, all employees can feel more engaged and motivated even though they do not handle anyone, if they can see themselves as leaders. So-called informal direction means something distinct – taking charge of an organization. Simply encouraging new paths has absolutely nothing related to being in charge, officially or otherwise, of a group of people.

Examples of Direction Re-defined

” When the Sony employee who influenced top management to embrace his proposal for PlayStation, they failed to report to him.

” Whenever you affect your manager to think differently you have had a direction impact on that individual.

None of those examples entails managing the people on whom the leadership impact was felt. The leader sells the tickets and we need to update our concept of management to care for driving the bus. Of course, further injections of direction could be required enroute to resell the calibers of the journey, but good management abilities are required by the majority of the job in getting there. Direction should be reconfigured as a nurturing, empowering and function that is facilitative, not only a mechanically controlling one.

Executive Development

What really gets developed in so-called leadership development systems are round executives. The fact remains the fact that leadership, imagined as challenging the status quo and boosting new courses, is based on youthful rebelliousness, something which is not a skill set that is learnable. When front line workers with no subordinates stand up for their thoughts, they’ve been revealing leadership to the broader organization. Socalled leadership development programs really turn employees who are leaders into supervisors. That is no bad thing. Organizations want good managers.

This perspective stands the conventional image on its head: it is the front line knowledge workers who are the real leaders in organizations, not their supervisors. Naturally, executives can additionally show leadership they too encourage a better way.

The Benefits of Redefining Leadership

The main advantage is making it clear that all employees could be leaders and that, to do this, you don’t need all the abilities connected with being in charge of people. You simply desire the courage along with a good thought to defend it. Additional potential benefits include involvement and better drive of better ability retention, more innovation and front line ownership, all workers and less pressure on senior executives to reveal all of the leadership a complex organization needs.

Make the Shift?

Direction is founded on power, traditionally the power of style to control a group. This may still work in public sector organizations and politics but in companies that compete through fast initiation, the power that is significant is the means to generate new products and procedures. In a war of ideas, leadership should mean the capacity to successfully promote notions that are new. Thus, for making the shift in leadership is defined, the reason is simply the entire world is changing to one of dymanic mental work from among, physical work that is steady.