This month, I’m trying a different formula. I present to you what is called a lookout, that is, an overview of what is coming up on a specific subject. Leadership development will be addressed.
At this day
I wouldn’t be lying if I told you that leadership development has evolved significantly over the years. On the one hand, there is the changing market and environmental context that requires adaptation. On the other hand, leaders are called upon to evolve in order to adapt to these new challenges.
However, it seems that leadership development methods do not follow this evolution at the same pace. The challenge is therefore not only to define the leader of tomorrow, but to find ways to develop it. I will therefore talk to you about the evolution of leadership development by considering:
- the context
- the skills of the leader
- the development methods used
To begin with, when it comes to leadership development, the environment, the market context and the constant changes in companies are put forward. Indeed, it is essential to understand the context in which leaders evolve in order to target the desired competencies.
Like the very changing context, the skills of leaders have evolved significantly over the years. Currently, leadership skills require more depth in thinking, more subtle thinking skills and adaptive skills.
However, leadership development methods seem to have changed little. The methods used in recent years are:
- The training
- The coaching
- 360° feedback
- Learning in action
Among these methods, coaching is the method for developing first-class leadership behaviors.
Human Resources Management
With regard to the management of leaders in companies, the trend has long been to define the skills a leader needs and help him/her to acquire these skills (competency-based approach). To date, a management approach called talent management has taken over. This is about producing leaders rather than recruiting them.
Talent management refers to what has long been called succession management, that is, all actions to attract, retain and develop individuals potentially suited to leadership positions. More specifically, talent management is about identifying, developing, optimizing and recognizing talent.
However, a tendency to overvalue talent as a condition for success in the workplace was raised. Talent would therefore not be the only criterion for ensuring the individual’s success, the environment would play an important role in the performance of leaders.
At this time, it is important to support tomorrow’s leaders in the acquisition of skills that are considered “critical” to the company’s future. Here are four trends.
Trend 1: Significant Growth In Vertical Development
Two types of development would be present. The trainers made extensive use of the so-called horizontal development (skills development), which involves the transmission of skills. Whereas development, called vertical, consists of stages of development corresponding to the stages that a person goes through in his progression. Competencies thus develop by themselves and at their own pace. Thus, the trend is to add vertical development to horizontal development. It seems simple!
Trend 2: Individual Appropriation Of His Own Development
I will not surprise you by telling you that it seems that a person’s motivation to develop would be greater when they feel they are doing it independently! However, the current context shows that it is HR, training companies or line managers who decide which training to follow to develop their leaders, which leaves them in a passive position. The trend is to mobilize leaders to take ownership of their own development. It’s not just a one-click process? No, unfortunately…!
Trend 3: Collective Leadership At The Expense Of Individual Leadership
The changing context of the environment leads to situations that the leader cannot solve alone. These are adaptation challenges that require collaboration between different parties to face and progress in the face of these many changes. Thus, there seems to be a shift from the air of isolated leaders to the air of network leadership development. In fact, it would appear that innovation is the result of many interconnections within a network rather than that of an isolated person. What does it look like in practice? Perhaps with the help of professional co-development?
Trend 4: A Wind Of Innovation
This last point brings together the three trends discussed above. The observation is that the development of new approaches is necessary. To achieve this, it will be important to move beyond the “known” framework and innovate. The points discussed above are in fact favorable to innovation. It is therefore an interesting starting point to get started. Let’s start thinking about it!
Reflection On The Future
In my opinion, the company of tomorrow will have to transform itself quickly and successfully. Without following trends, the company of tomorrow will have to deal with the changes imposed by showing the line to follow and proposing by itself the trend to follow. This is where leaders will play an important role. They will be the guides to the trends to be followed.
Despite the rise of technology in the organizational world, I believe that leadership development will be possible through interactions with others. The challenges will be great, the pace of change will be rapid and the complexity will increase. Contact with others will allow the leader to see new visions, new ways of thinking, promoting a deconstruction of current thinking and leaving room for innovation. In my opinion, methods such as co-development, even if they are old, will help.
Here again, perhaps the deconstruction of what we already know will give way to new development methods that are still unknown. That being said, this need to develop in contact with others will, in my opinion, necessitate good emotional intelligence on the part of managers. Coaching will then be a good method to support managers on this point. It seems that everything still needs to be done regarding leadership development. It will then be a matter of harnessing the visionary thinking of leaders of future generations.
The scientific literature has long sought to understand how individual leadership evolves over time, so it is now time to focus our attention on the more collective aspects of leadership development.