May 30, 2007

Developing Leadership

I've been thinking about the best way to developing leadership in organizations, and although there are various models of leadership development in place (like The Leadership Pipeline) I haven't really come across a good 'approach' to leadership development.

It's an oft repeated dictum that people learn by doing more than they learn by other means- but do they really?

I have come across people who constantly stumble when doing a certain kind of role/job. Their learning is limited to knowing that this is one thing they cannot do well :-)

However, what really helps people learn from doing, is the ability to reflect and introspect.

Therefore, I am coming around to the conclusion that one of the best ways to design a leadership development initiative, is to assess people on their ability to self-reflect, and to reflect with their peers. Then give them lots of different experiences in real-life scenarios. To build business in a new market. To lead an innovation and research team. To take charge of an under-performing team and try to turn it around. To take financial control and look at different ways to get returns for the organization.

As the participants do these real life work - not projects - they will need to learn from each other and interact with the current leaders.