The Little Book of Leadership Development
50 Ways to Bring Out the Leader in Every Employee
Authors: Scott J. Allen, Mitchell Kusy
Pub Date: May 2011
Print Edition: $19.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437834
Page Count: 144
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417577
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MANY RESEARCH STUDIES suggest that leaders who help team
members make sense of their roles in the organization, encourage
the development of those around them, stimulate intellectual
growth, and model ethical and trustworthy behavior achieve greater
results than those who do not. Do you do these things? What would
your team say?
The Little Book of Leadership Development is filled with ideas to
help you develop leadership capacity in others. This book rests on the
notion that how you choose to develop others will significantly enhance
their technical expertise and their ability to lead others. If you are active,
involved, and perceived by members of your team as an individual
who cares about their development and growth, you will increase your
chances of success and theirs.
By intentionally changing how you lead and manage others, you
can develop leadership capacity in those around you every day. If you
take time to create a system of leadership development, there will be
less need for periodic training and development. It simply will be a
function of your department—a thread that weaves throughout the
tapestry of your day-to-day operations.
This notion is rooted in the concept that leadership development
is not something that primarily occurs in the classroom. It occurs on
the job—on the fly—each and every day. Organizations spend billions
of dollars on training each year, but often the most valuable resource,
the department manager, is left out of the loop. According to leadership
scholar Bernard Bass: “Most important to whether training will
modify behavior back on the job is the trainee’s immediate supervisor.”
1 In support of Bass’s assertion, many other researchers have
found that the level of support and overall attitude of a learner’s boss
will have the greatest effect on transfer of skills. For example, a study
led by Huczynski and Lewis supported these findings, concluding
that people who feel a high degree of support from their supervisors
report a higher level of motivation to attend and learn from training
opportunities.2 These studies underscore the importance of you in
the development process. If you are engaged, active, and involved in
leadership development, those around you will develop and grow in
Unfortunately, many organizations spend far too little time
preparing their key people for the significant roles they play. These
managers have been our frequent clients and report any number of
challenges to us: “We need more support”; “I don’t know how to
coach”; “Change is overwhelming me”; “I don’t have the power to
reward good performance”; “I do not have the time”; “I am not a
babysitter”; “The nuts and bolts of managing performance are beyond
me.” The Little Book of Leadership Development is designed to help
you address these and similar concerns and accelerate leader potential
in your team members.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN A NUTSHELL
Like the term leadership, leadership development has no consensus
definition. However, we suggest that leadership development is a continuous
process to expand the learning and performance capacity of
people in organizations and communities to meet shared goals and
objectives. To develop even mediocre skills at anything takes deliberate
coaching, practice, and reflection. Could an Olympic gymnast be developed
when provided with feedback only twice a year? Could a
world-class chef? Of course not. Developing leadership capacity is the
same as changing any other behavior or activity—it takes consistent
coaching, practice, and reflection. Yet many organizations, divisions,
agencies, communities, and departments are not structured to facilitate
these steps. As a result, people spend years in organizations and communities
with few opportunities to truly develop and grow as the
Olympic gymnast or culinary master does.
EVERY DAY—OUR MODEL
As you think about a leadership development system, we would like to
place the image of a flower in your mind. If you are like us, perhaps
some flowers have died under your watch. Amazing, given the fact that,
in essence, they simply need sunlight and water. It’s so simple. Your
development system is no different. It will need water and sunlight to
grow. It will need your time and attention—not a lot—but enough for
it to grow.
The system we present is one way to develop the leadership capacity
of the individuals with whom you work each and every day.
The “classroom” is the work environment, and the facilitator is
you, the manager. Changing how you approach your role will not
only develop the leadership capacity of those around you, but it will
likely increase their productivity as well. This may actually decrease
your workload in some areas so that you can spend the time on activities
where your unique expertise is called for. Though easing your
own workload should not necessarily be your ultimate goal, it does
imply that you’ve successfully delegated important work to others and
is reflected in improved organizational performance. In other words,
leaders create more leaders.
We propose six steps to implement your system of leadership
1. Get your own shop in order.
2. Build your leadership development system.
3. Involve others.
4. Manage the system.
5. Evaluate the system.
6. Add new pieces with caution.
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