Leadership development, a hammer or screwdriver approach?
I have had many conversations over the past weeks about leadership development, no surprises there, as it’s the business I am in. What has surprised me though is the polarity of the conversations.
I have discussed at length the challenges faced by leaders in current times where there seems plenty of uncertainty, very little predictability, and stability, and where change really is the order of everyday. These organisations are searching for leadership development to support their leaders in these turbulent times and to equip them for the future which I doubt will get any more predictable, nothing new there.
The question is if the expectations on leaders are different than before then surely their leadership development needs to be different from before? Doesn’t it need to equip them with the skills to deal with the unknown, to have the ability to make decisions without every last piece of information or fact, to trust their instincts as well as their experience and to be able to adapt to situations as they change moment by moment?
The challenge comes when those looking for the leadership development solutions are stuck in the ‘old model’, they want old style development but they want it to deliver the needs of the new world – isn’t that like choosing to hammer a nail into the wall using a screwdriver?
If we are asking our leaders to be brave and have the right tools for their roles, it would be good to see those responsible for finding the development to support them leading the way, being brave too and choosing the ‘hammer’ even if it has never been used before.