CCL has been studying leaders and their development for 40 years. Many of our practices have become “tried-and-true” ways to develop leaders and leadership. Here, we highlight ideas, strategies and tactics that we have developed and refined over many years and by working with many thousands of clients.

What Develops In Leader Development?

The goal of leadership initiatives is to improve the ability of individuals and organizations to set direction, gain commitment and create alignment. But what specifically can be developed in people that will contribute to their effectiveness as leaders?

The new edition of The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development addresses this issue, describing a range of capabilities associated with self-management, leading others and leading the organization. They include:

  • Self-Awareness. A key aspect of understanding oneself is having awareness of what one does well and not so well; what one is comfortable with and uncomfortable with; which situations bring out one’s personal best and which are difficult to handle.
  • Ability to Learn. This includes recognizing when new behaviors, skills, or attitudes are called for; accepting responsibility for one’s own development; and engaging in activities that provide the opportunity to learn or test new perspectives and behaviors.
  • Ability to Build and Maintain Relationships. The foundation of this ability is the capacity to respect people from varying backgrounds and to understand and value the diverse perspectives that they bring.
  • Ability to Build Effective Work Groups. People in leadership roles need not only to develop their own relationships with others, but also to facilitate the development of positive relationships among others who work together.
  • Ability to Develop Others. This includes the ability to help others diagnose their development needs, provide appropriate feedback and other learning opportunities, coach and encourage changes in their behavior and recognize and reward improvements.
  • Ability to Think and Act Strategically. People who can think and act strategically have a clear sense of the desirable collective future. They make decisions, set priorities and support initiatives that will bring the current reality more in line with the desired future.
  • Ability to Initiate and Implement Change. This includes establishing the need for change, influencing others to participate in the change, and institutionalizing the new ways of working.

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