The environment has changed – it is more complex, volatile, and unpredictable. The skills needed for leadership have also changed – more complex and adaptive thinking abilities are needed.
The methods we use to develop leaders has not changed even though everything else seems to have changed. The majority of managers are developed from on-the-job experiences, training, and coaching/mentoring. While these are all still important, leaders are no longer developing fast enough or in the right ways to match the new environment.
Managers have become experts on the “what” of leadership, but novices in the “how” of their own development.
In addition to the change needed in how the training is made, the responsibility and accountability of the development needs to be changed. We see the most development occur when people are responsible for their own development. The current model encourages people to believe that someone else is responsible for their development – human resources, their manager, or trainers. We will need to move people from the passenger seat and into the driver’s seat of their own development. This means greater focus on collective rather than individual leadership.
In the past leadership was about a person or role. Leadership now needs to be about developing leaders throughout the network. We will need to identify what we need for leadership to flourish in the network. We will need to determine how we spread leadership capacity throughout the organization.
As organizations we will need to develop the levels of collective leadership required to meet an increasingly complex future. Our focus will need to be on innovation and rapid changes to meet the changes in the environment. We will need to experiment and quickly analyze and determine the changes that need to occur. Technology and the web will both provide the infrastructure and drive the change.
Organizations that embrace the changes will do better than those who resist it.
This is No Longer Just a Leadership Challenge – It is a Development Challenge
* Content summarized from Future Trends in Leadership Development by the Center of Creative Leadership.