How to Mend the Broken Leadership Development?

HR Tech Outlook | Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Conventional leadership models are incompatible with the modern and agile organizations and hence, new leadership development models are the need of the hour.

FREMONT, CA: The leadership development solutions market is enormous and organizations spend billions of dollars on such solutions. Despite spending so much money on leadership development, one of the biggest challenges organizations face is improving their pipeline leadership. With changing times, organizations are becoming more dynamic and they need a new breed of leaders. Every professional gets pushed to a leadership position, whether it is a supervisor, manager, or project leader. Leadership models of today are built upon leading in a network, building an inclusive team, driving results through influence, and staying close to the customers. This leadership model is entirely different from positional leadership, where leaders lead through the power of their intelligence, title, and job level. Today, instead of being authoritative, great leaders lead the change through their reputation, willingness to experiment, ability to empower people, and focus on developing people.   

The traditional leadership model is not dead. However, when companies redefine their business models, creating new agile organizational models, and designing solutions around data and customer experience, the old leadership development formats cannot keep up. While many companies still have hierarchies, it no longer defines how work gets done. Employees handle dynamic roles with multiple professional teams during their work, influencing those around too. 

The entire leadership landscape is changing and a whole new approach is needed. Organizations still need business leaders, but rather than channeling people through the old leadership model, a new and improved agile approach is required. The new model must include the four fundamental E’s as follows. 


Vendors, academic institutions, and books are focused on education. Every employee needs education on company business, such as setting goals, operational rhythms of the company, developing people, products, and services. All this can be learned, but other than leading people, a leader’s responsibility is to accomplish tasks. Thus, the first thing leaders should know is the knowledge of getting things done and how to lead people. 


Experience makes a leader better and experience is gained by learning on the job or working under a mentor that constantly puts the young leader in situations that teaches them leadership traits.  Every time a leader works on a project, operational solution, program, or team, the person should learn from the experience and perform better next time.  


Along with experience, exposure can nurture a great leader. It comes from observing, talking to leaders, and getting feedback from others. Leading meetings, working on projects, and being part of the team are some of the most critical confidence-building practices that provide the necessary exposure. 


Upcoming leaders require inputs to assess their performance. Leaders must choose 360-degree feedback surveys to get very specific help. Every employee or a leader needs a coach, a feedback tool, several forms of assessment to overcome their blind spots, and sober advice to improve.   

In today’s agile, continuously changing companies, leaders need to be very dynamic. Traditional leadership models might work for a limited timeframe, but over time organizations have to transform their leadership models.

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