3 Components Of Leadership Development

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There are three very important components for leadership development.  The traditional methods of just sharing content, competencies and material have come and gone.  For one, the access to the three aforementioned areas are all over the internet, so the content has become diluted and become a real commodity.  Secondly, today’s leaders are too bright, too experienced and too opinionated to simply sit and listen to someone spout off all that they know.  The best training content is a profit center not a cash expenditure.

Last week, I had the privilege of launching a publicly traded company’s leadership training platform.  I was asked eight weeks prior what my style was and what material I was going to share.  My style is focusing on solving relevant business challenges. Facilitators need to find the answers that come into the room and leverage the material they did not prepare.  My style is questions, relevance, leveraging the group and enthusiasm.

Here is a comment I received once the training was over from Twitter:


The latest research by the Center for Creative Leadership indicates that the way of teaching competencies, focusing on content, taking individuals through a program and thinking of training as an event has come and has gone.

Today, leadership development programs need to focus on three critical elements:

1.) A Process vs. An Event:  
I am sure you have attended a leadership development program and the essential competencies and moments of illumination quickly fell by the wayside once you returned back to the office.  It is not that this was not a real meaningful experience, it’s that it was just more of an event vs. thinking of the fact that leadership is a journey and a process.

2.) Develop Capacity vs. Competencies

The facilitator often focuses on the content that they have developed over the need to enhance capability and capacity.  How many times during training have you ‘checked-out’ because the material was not for you?  Yet, if the facilitator takes on the role of understanding and identifying the needs in the room at the moment it can really enhance the experience.  Then the training moves from being a capital expense to a profit center.

3.) Embrace Uncertainty vs. Certainty

We are addicted to certainty.  Some of us love knowing and being able to anticipate outcomes.  Our world is moving quickly and changing rapidly.  It requires leaders to embrace outcomes that are uncertain and enjoy the fact that certainty is an illusion.  Your leadership development training will be a bit messy and will not always fit into the ‘box’ of competencies.

How would you evaluate your leadership development program? Is it an event or is it a process? Are you increasing capacity of your leaders or just teaching competencies? Are you helping your leaders embrace uncertainty & ambiguity?

“21st Century Leaders will need to be systems thinkers who are comfortable with ambiguity.” Jeffrey Immelt GE