What is Leadership Development - and Who Cares?

(Originally posted autumn 2011)

There are many approaches to Leadership Development...
I’m often asked, “What is Leadership Development?”
Before I have time to answer, that question is followed by, “…quite frankly, what’s the fuss about? – I’m running my business successfully. I’ve a good team and we all know what we need to do... There's so many trainers, organisations and coaches out there promoting leadership development; people banging on about leadership. But frankly, we’re doing fine... If we were in a total mess I guess it could help, but then we wouldn’t have the money for it. So it’s not relevant to us. What’s the fuss all about?"

So is Leadership Development important?
Well, of course, I’m going to say yes.
There are many definitions of leadership and leadership development. As this isn’t an academic exercise but a conversation for people running organisations and their own businesses, I would describe leadership as,
  • Getting the very best out of yourself and your team.

For anyone considering the value of leadership development, the key question is,
  • Out of 10, how well do you and your people do what you do?
  • What difference would it make to your performance/profits/job satisfaction, if you improved?
  • And if you did improve by 5, 10 or 15% - how would you compare to the competition?

So in the simplest of terms Leadership Development is about taking the time to:
  • step out of your business
  • with the help of someone not attached to you or your business
  • and for you to reflect on and improve the most important things that you do.
  • It’s also time to discover the things you don’t know you don’t know... whatever they may be.

After all, it’s the invisibles (the things of which we are least aware) that can cause us most harm.
So is leadership development important? – I’ll leave that decision to you.

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