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European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), Germany
Leadership development is a field that is concerned with the way in which organizations help their employees prepare for roles and tasks which require social influence over other individuals, all in order to achieve organizational goals. Amidst global uncertainties, a growing emphasis is being placed on the individuals, or groups... read moreof individuals, at the helm of an organization when critics consider the positive or negative developments in that organization and in society at large. Whether the impact of leaders on such developments is overestimated is still a question for academic inquiry. Nevertheless, progression in an organizational career is inevitably related to an increase in some sort of leadership responsibility, and human resources development processes for the future top management cadre necessarily involve leadership development elements or interventions.
Recently a distinction has been introduced between leader development and leadership development (Day, 2000). The former concerns organizational efforts aimed at development of leadership qualities of a particular individual. The emphasis is put on cultivation of desired attitudes, skills, and behaviors of a person, i.e. the purpose is the development of human capital. Leadership development, on the other hand, concentrates on the development of social capital, encompassing interpersonal relationships, social networks, and group and contextual dynamics issues. While leader development is seen as helping an individual be more effective in her or his leader role, leadership development aims at helping groups of critical people be more effective in acting together in the interest of the organization.
Regardless of the differences in the terminology, the development of leaders is a key strategic issue in preparing the human side of organizations for dealing with current and future challenges and opportunities. Leader or leadership development happens when there is a combination of three things: a conceptual understanding of what the company means by leading and leadership; an opportunity to acquire and demonstrate some leadership competencies; and, an awareness of the qualities and competencies that cannot easily be acquired, but rather develop over a long and painstaking period, sometimes necessitating a deep identity change.
This series will examine how companies develop strategies that define their leadership development agendas. It will look at how companies operationalize agendas and turn them into programs or interventions. It will identify individual practices that ensure that people are growing in their capacity to lead. This series will also look outwards to wider global issues concerning teaching, and learning to lead. The speakers for this series are passionate about what they do, but also critical in terms of the challenges and caveats related to what they propose. The emphasis of the series is on the implications of leadership development thinking, research, and practical experimentation for leadership development applications in modern organizations.