Why there is no one-size-fits-all in leadership development


Wouldn’t it be great if there was the one and only model for developing leadership in organizations? In an ideal world, such a model would define the definitive approach for how to build leadership. It would give steps and tools that would be right and effective regardless of the strategy, particular challenges or age, background and potential of a given leadership population. It would fit the large industrial corporation in the same perfect way as it would benefit the maturing software startup. It would be simple, but not simplistic, it would allow to tackle complexity while remaining easy to use.

Needless to say, there is no such model – or at least we haven’t come across it in our extensive research designing our Leadership Development Kit.

However, if we stick to the ideal for a moment, we would propose that a perfect leadership development model would have to be responsive to an organization’s context. It would allow facilitators and learning coaches to design programs that integrate key contextual factors that influence how leadership is understood, practiced and learned in a given organization. It would be based on an approach that identifies key elements of leadership as a social phenomenon and it would facilitate an understanding based on a collaborative learning process of how those elements interact and play out in a specific situation or context. It would contain tools that are not designed to inject a deterministic 1-2-3-step approach into the minds of individual leaders, but it would serve as a platform which lets developing leaders converse and think about how to develop their practice. In short, it would serve to provide productive learning and development environments.

The above at least is a fair shot at summarizing the principles that guided our work building a framework, tools, and process guidance for leadership development. It thus seemed logical to include dedicated tools that help developing leaders and their coaches to define the context in which they are operating – and through which they have to lead. The Leadership Context Map is designed to frame leadership development efforts and link them to the “big picture” of leadership challenges, thus providing one entry point of our leadership development canvas.

Check out our free preview on the Leadership Development Kit and start defining a leadership initiative customized to your needs and context: