The New Taxonomy of Leadership Development

Leadership development is the foundation of success in life, leadership and service. The quality of any leader directly impacts the pivotal factors of organizational success – managing change, recruitment and development of talent, engagement and collaboration, innovation etc. Leadership is the proven element to the overall health of organizational culture, which is the undeniable underpinning of success or failure for any enterprise.

The New Taxonomy of Leadership Development

In agreement to research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership on the Future Trends of Leadership Development, our reality is clear: the rising complexities of organizational change are becoming more evident by the day. The skills needed for influence have also changed to require more robust understanding of self-awareness, social-awareness, and enhanced critical thinking to effectively problem solve our day to day challenges.

The sobering reality is that the methods being used to develop leaders have not reformed to the degree that our complexities have transformed. The conventional models of leadership development are typically event-driven one offs with little evidence of impact to show after six weeks, and in most cases, no measured improvement sustained after six months.

The majority of managers today are developed via on-the-job experiences, training, and coaching. While these strategies are important, when considering static operational improvements, the reality is that leaders are not developing fast enough or in the right ways to stay successful.

The New Taxonomy of Leadership Development – Good, Better, and Best

The Good: When considering the impact and investment of leadership development, most leaders will go with the flow of what they know. The central line of thought when exploring leadership solutions is to concentrate on technical, competency issues and a plan to calibrate training to address skill gaps assessed across departments and sectors. This approach is widely observed and considered good in addressing improvements in terms of operational performance.

The Better: When developing a plan to calibrate training that addresses the technical skills gap, organizations will often couple their mid-range structures of budget, schedules/calendars, and multi-year operational goals in calibration to the developmental strategies needed for personal growth. The strategic nature found in this approach gives increased sustainability to the initiatives on the table and allows for a broader scaling of impact, engagement, and accountability across departments and sectors.

The Best: Leaders who have the courage to break through the comforts of the organizational performance and management-focused agenda are rare. Significantly successful leaders are those who concentrate on the personal development priorities of self and those of their teams to BECOME worth following. While the investment of time, energy and resources to improve organizational performance is unarguably impactful, this bottom line concentration seldom brings personal behavioral change or culture transformation. Secure leaders may begin their journey of development via the technical channels of development. Great start, yet the most success rests in the leader who can effectively press to invest in building an apprenticeship culture that drills deep into the self and social awareness issues across their teams and organization.

“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” — John C Maxwell: The 17th Irrefutable Laws of Teamwork (2001, 185)

Your best future talent is already in your organization. There is no better way to ensure your enterprise stays competitive and effective than by challenging, nurturing, and enabling your team’s talent through the art and skill of leadership apprenticeship. Becoming a leader worth following is the foundation of a successful leader. Building leaders worth following characterizes the legacy strength and security of a liberating leader worth pursuing

Ask Yourself:

  1. What leadership development strategies are you using that have contributed to higher performance? How can you continue to invest there?
  2. How secure are you as a leader in terms of your skills (IQ), connectivity (EQ), and your own self-awareness?
  3. Is there a mismatch between any of the three (IQ), (EQ), and your Self-Awareness?
  4. How can we help you break further beyond the first tiers of leadership comforts to the deeper levels of impact and organizational liberation?
  5. How can we help build an apprenticeship culture within your organization? Visit for more information.
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