I want to share a white paper with you about four trends for the future of leadership development. Our colleague Nick Petrie did a terrific job researching this, interviewing professionals at diverse organizations including Harvard, GE, Forum, CCL, and Ketchum; the full article can be found here.



Trends toward vertical development and more collective forms of leadership are especially intriguing and inform CCL’s thinking about interdependent leadership. Let us know what you think in the comments section, and I’m sure we can get Nick to join in the discussion.

Four Trends:

1. More focus on vertical development
2. Transfer of greater developmental ownership to the indivdual
3. Greater focus on collective rather than individual leadership
4. Greater focus on innovation in leadership development methods

It seemed that the nature of the challenges that managers were facing were rapidly changing; however, the methods that we were using to develop them were staying the same. The incremental improvements that we were making in programs were what Chris Argyris would call “single loop” learning (adjustments to the existing techniques), rather than “double loop” learning (changes to the assumptions and thinking upon which the programs were built). These continual, nagging doubts led me to take a one-year sabbatical at Harvard University with the goal of answering one question – what will the future of leadership development look like? With the aim of getting as many different perspectives as possible, I studied across the schools of the university (Education, Business, Law, Government, Psychology) to learn their approaches to developing leaders and conducted a literature review of the field of leadership development. In addition, I interviewed 30 experts in the field to gather diverse perspectives and asked each of them the following questions:

  • What are the current approaches being used that you think are the most effective?
  • What do you think we should be doing more of in terms of developing leaders?
  • What should we be doing less of/ stop doing/ or phase out?
  • Where do you see the future of leadership development headed?

Download the white paper and continue reading …

Contact Nick Petrie

Nick Petrie is a Senior Faculty member with the Center for Creative Leadership’s Colorado Springs campus.

3 thoughts on “Four Trends for the Future of Leadership Development

  1. I agree with Nick’s findings that we need to empower and actively provide means for individuals to own their own leadership development, including women, who tend to be less self promoting than men (see the NYTimes article from today . Collective leadership is necessary to deal with VUCA conditions – we simply can’t do it alone any longer.

    1. Charles J. Palus says:

      Robert Burnside is Chief Learning Officer at Ketchum. You can find more about Ketchum’s leadership development here.

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