A Declaration of Interdependence

What is the future of leadership? What’s the role of leadership development? In a column for theHarvard Business Review‘s six-week blog series on how leadership might look in the future, CCL’s Charles Palus argued that our interdependent reality requires companies to create a new kind of leadership culture.

In the June 3 post, Palus writes:

“We hold this truth as self-evident: Our lives, work and well-being are interdependent. Everything and everyone is — or can be — connected. This new reality challenges the traditional logic when it comes to leadership development. The interdependent companies we’ve studied have expanded from an exclusive focus on leader development, which is about character, competence, quantity of individuals in defined roles, to leadership development, which is the expansion of a collective’s shared beliefs and practices for creating direction, alignment and commitment (DAC).

Leadership development, in other words, targets the leadership culture of the organization. DAC, we have found, is produced by dependent, independent or interdependent leadership cultures.

Direction presents the question: How will we decide where to go?
Alignment: How will we coordinate our work?
Commitment: How will we stay engaged and accountable?

This shift in logic from leader to leadership has two very practical implications. First, it draws attention to the outcomes of leadership, DAC. It’s the practical “why” of leadership that can get lost when the main focus is on competence and character of the individual leader. Second, this shift draws attention to the collective capacity of the organization to produce these outcomes. This can be liberating and generative, since any beliefs and practices that produce DAC can be identified and targeted for development.”

Read the full column on the Harvard Business Review‘s Web site — A Declaration of Interdependence — and take a look at these other “Imagining the Future of Leadership” blogs:

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