Good Leaders Know that Leadership Development is Important

I received a newsletter from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). It was entitled, “5 Leadership Development Lessons from the World’s Greatest Leaders”.

I loved this question and answer, “What makes a great leader? It’s a question frequently discussed online and at professional conferences, especially in learning and development. One way to learn about leadership is to observe great leaders.” I’ve been asking this question for over 15 years (since I started doing leadership development sessions). Here are CCL’s thoughts and mine!

Leadership development is necessary.

Bill Gentry, from Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), says that Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders list “definitely gives more evidence to what we know from the academic literature, and our own research at the Center for Creative Leadership: When it comes to the age-old question, ‘Are leaders born or made,’ leaders are more made than they are born.” The article also says that “effective leadership development programs are critical in any industry, in the public or private sector”. I very definitely agree with that, not because this is what I do for a living, but because I was a new leader that didn’t have any leadership development. That means I learned the hard way and made way too many mistakes. Because of that, I am passionate about helping new leaders make a more effective transition and experienced leaders hone their leadership skillset.

Support diverse diversity.

The article says, “diversity is important, but it’s also important to consider diverse types of diversity.” Leaders need to understand and support diversity, which includes race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation and sexual identity. Why? Because research shows that diversity contributes substantially to business success.

Character is crucial.

The “exceptional leaders” of the Fortune list, says Tom Rose (head of global innovation and client solutions at AchieveForum), “remind us that being a better leader is about developing competence and character.” I often reference a book called The Extraordinary Leader. It was one of the core elements in one of my previous company’s leadership development program. I found a book summary that explains one of the book’s main points well: “Imagine a standard tent held up by five tent poles (or clusters of leadership competencies and behaviors). The center pole is called Character. It includes integrity, ethics, and humility. The four poles that support the tent sides are Personal Capability (technical/professional expertise and cognitive ability), Focus on Results, Interpersonal Skills (including communicating, inspiring, connecting, developing) and Leading Organizational Change (the highest expression of leadership, contend the authors).”

Understanding and leveraging technology impactfully.

According to the article, “digital and social media literacy is crucial for all employees, but especially for leaders.” This is one area that I’ve never addressed in leadership development programs, but these days it is important!

Have a clear vision.

Bill Gentry says that many of Fortune’s greatest leaders “had a clear vision, a clear direction.” Tom Rose notes that, “the best leaders … engage others in developing a shared vision” and “bring this vision to life by modelling the change they ask others to adopt.” Sam Shriver, senior vice president at The Center for Leadership Studies, says “if nothing else the spectrum of leaders identified by Fortune reinforces the notion that high quality leadership is not a prescriptive list of ‘things you do to others,’ but rather a thoughtful, intentional and passionate response to unique and intriguing circumstance.” Leaders need to make sure our teams understand our company's vision and how we individually can contribute to that vision.

This article has a lot of sports references that I removed. Because, yes, I will admit this, I am not a sports person. To read the whole article, including stuff about the Chicago Cubs, visit

#Leadership #Management

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