What Can Leadership Development Do for Your Organization?


Hello, I’m here to talk to you about
the topic of leadership development. This is a topic that is on the minds
of executives around the world. It’s made a strategic priority
in many organizations today. It’s on the minds of human resource
professionals as they try to figure out the type of leadership talent that
they need in order to move their organizations into the future. It’s on the minds of scholars like myself. My name is Lisa Dragoni, I’m an Associate Professor in the School
of Business at Wake Forest University. My colleague Dave Day who is
a chaired professor at the University of Western Australia and I were asked to write an article,
which appeared earlier this year in the Annual Review of Organization
Psychology and Organizational Behavior. So in this article, we talk about a lot of different things
revolving around leadership development. I’m gonna talk with you about
some of the high level findings from the literature with respect
to leadership development. Leadership development is distinct
from leader development, and we make this distinction in the article. Leader development is really
one of the things that help prepare individuals to assume formal
leadership positions within organizations. This part of the article really
talks about leadership development. So what are the things that we know
from research about how collectives, teams and organizations and
units can create direction, clarity of direction,
alignment of mindsets and effort, and higher levels of motivation
and commitment towards those directions. So the research I’m gonna overview
very briefly here is at two levels. First, the team or unit level, and
the second is at the organizational level. And I’ve prioritized those things
that have a theoretical basis, but also an empirical basis, so
there’s some validity to the theory. So the first is with respect to teams. So how do teams generate
greater clarity of direction, alignment of effort, and also commitment? And what we find is that in that research
there have been a couple of thought leaders in this area. Scott DeRue at the University
if Michigan and his colleagues, in particular, have talked about what
are the conditions necessary for teams to develop more of a shared
leadership model within their unit? In other words, we know that with
leadership we have to have followership. So, if I’m leading a team,
others need to be following. And if my colleague is leading,
then we all need to be following. And the extent to which that is shared,
that leadership function and followership function is shared within the team,
that’s what this research is about. And so what we learn is that, basically,
there are three conditions that help the development of this
type of shared leadership. The first is that there is an interpersonal comfort that
develops among the members. They trust one another. They’re viewed as warm and
caring individuals, and this allows then for
a sharing of influence and expertise. The second is knowledge of what do people
in the team know, what their expertise is. And the last then is this notion of we
have a shared mindset both in terms of our goals and our purposes, but also in terms of the extent to which we
value sharing influence and leadership. So when those three conditions
are present, this work is showing that leadership development within teams
tends to be present and is growing. The secondary area of research is
really at the organizational level. And here the research
is really focused on, how do organizations develop leadership? Leadership is more seen as
a process by which organizations can then manage the environmental
uncertainty that might be present. So Deborah Ancona who’s at MIT and
her colleagues and Mary Uhl-Bien who’s at TCU and her colleagues, they
independently have been doing research. But there’s some commonality across them. And the commonality tends to be this, they find that leadership is
growing in these organizations. In other words, they have greater clarity
of direction, effort, and motivation when there are pockets of the organization
in which there’s informal leaders. And there’s a negotiation process then
that occurs with those that are occupying formal leadership positions. And their work is then about that process
by which there’s this negotiation, and then how does clarity
of direction alignment and commitment get fostered as a result? So the work that I’ve shared
here really is at its infancy. It is not work that has been out for
a long time. Some of it is in fact still in press. So there’s a lot of work to
be done still in this area. But this will give you a sense of
the beginning stages of what we see with regard to leadership development.

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