When we used to talk about leadership development, the discussion was about working only with the very few leaders at the top. Nowadays, successful organizations need leaders throughout—at all levels. As organizations have flattened, there is a growing demand for employees with leadership skills….employees who can lead in uncertain situations, who can lead through change, who can inspire others to follow them, and who have the flexibility to shift with the market.
How do you develop this leadership capability?
The most effective way is through action learning for leadership development. Simply putting employees in a classroom will not cut it. They need to understand what skills are needed and how to apply them but, ultimately, they have to be in the midst of the action. They will learn faster and more effectively if they are exploring new ways of handling challenging situations and adjusting as they go. If you want to develop true leaders and build bench strength, provide opportunities for people to test their wings and the support system to pick them up when they falter.