“Leadership Development” is one of those terms that a lot of people use, but not a lot of people can accurately define. This is because, generally speaking, it’s a broad term that describes a wide variety of initiatives and activities.

What is leadership development?

Every organization will have a unique approach to leadership development, depending on their personnel requirements, the resources available, and the organizational culture. This can make the term difficult to define, since there are so many variations:

  • Does your organization have a mentorship program for young leaders? That’s leadership development.
  • Do you offer special resources to high-potential employees? That’s leadership development, too.
  • Is there a continuous learning budget available to leaders within your organization? That is also leadership development.

Instead of trying to define leadership development by what activities it may encompass, we find that it’s much easier to describe it by what it does.

To us, leadership development is how organizations stay competitive by continuously improving the capabilities of their people.

Why should your organization invest in leadership development programs?

When we talk to leaders today, they often talk about how challenging their roles have become over the past ten years… and they’re right! In an IBM study of 1,500 CEOs, over half of CEOs expressed doubt regarding their ability to manage the rising level of volatility and uncertainty in their industries:

“An Industrial Products CEO in the Netherlands summed up the sentiments of many when he described last year as “a wake-up call,” adding that ‘it felt like looking into the dark with no light at the end of the tunnel’.” (IBM, “Capitalizing on Complexity”)

CEO’s aren’t the only ones feeling overwhelmed. At every level of leadership, organizations rely on their people to develop new solutions, optimize existing processes, and stay competitive.

Today’s leaders can’t just manage their teams against a set of KPI’s. They have to be strategic, agile, creative, and decisive. Leaders also must be able to set a vision and motivate their team in an uncertain world.

An organization is only as good as the people it employs – because of this, ambitious organizations know that in order to grow, innovate, and compete, they have to ensure that their leaders are properly equipped to handle these challenges.

Ultimately, having a robust leadership development program in your organization ensures that your people are always operating at their full potential.


Free Guide – How to Design a Leadership Program

Aside from increasing agility and staying competitive, there are many other reasons that organizations should invest in leadership development. For a full explanation, as well as examples of what these programs look like, download our free guide, How to Design a Leadership Development Program.