Leadership Development


It has been known that as children grow, the way they think advances through predictable stages; each higher stage is associated with acquiring more complex and sophisticated ways of thinking. This means they are able to deal with increasingly difficult problems.

Yet for a long time it was assumed that once a person reached adulthood, they stop developing. Recent research has found this not to be true and the way adults develop changes.

"...Whereas children move rapidly through the stages, an adult's pace of development slows dramatically, almost to the point of plateauing. In addition, while a child's development appears to happen automatically, adults cannot simply sit back and wait; they need to work to keep growing......at different times we make progress, start to plateau, get stuck and then have a breakthrough. ..."

Nick Petrie, 2013

Leadership development programmes have 4 most common errors

i) wrong focus (too much focus on providing information and content, and not enough on developing the leaders themselves, ie

"...Most leaders already know what they should be doing; what they lack is the personal development to do it..."

Nick Petrie, 2013

ii) lack of connectivity (need to connect programme's content with what is happening in the workplace)

iii) leaders in isolation (not engaging key stakeholders like colleagues who can support, advise, take accountability, etc in the change process)

iv) too short (most programs are designed as a means rather than a process, ie give participants a short-term boost but no on-going follow-up.)

To handle these errors

"...- focus more on development, less on  content

     - make the development and the work inseparable

     - create strong development networks at work

     - make leadership development a process not an event..."

Nick Petrie, 2013

There are 2 types of leadership development:

i) horizontal ( this is adding to your knowledge, skills, expertise, competencies, etc like how to develop staff, improve communication, etc)

ii) vertical (refers to advances in a person's capability with the aim of developing the ability to think in more complex, systematic, strategic and interdependent ways, ie how you think, eg your mindset, identity mental models, etc)

"...if horizontal development is about transferring information to the leader, vertical development is the transformation of the leader..."

Nick Petrie, 2013

Both horizontal and vertical competencies are needed at the same time, ie 2 sides of the same coin.

"...for your organisation to truly excel......you will need to develop leaders who combine the wise mind needed to choose the right strategies (vertical development) with the skills and experience to execute them (horizontal development)..."

Nick Petrie, 2013


"...optimum well-being is a matter of fit between person, culture and corporate environment, task demands, health, talents, expertise and interest..."

Nick Petrie, 2015

The context is important.


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