How do you become a leader? The formal process of leadership development is typically an initiative spearheaded by the human resources department. It involves having prospective or incumbent leaders participate in various learning activities designed to promote their development. The problem with this? It rarely works.
First, the learning in packaged training programs is usually generic, and not tailored to the needs of individual leaders. Second, training is scheduled for predesignated times, which are unlikely to correspond to the times leaders face pressing issues and need lessons to occur. Third, training is static and doesn’t adapt to the changing learning needs of leaders.
A viable solution to these shortcomings is for leaders to undertake their own development, treating real-time, on-the-job experiences — especially those that are difficult and threatening — as opportunities for continuous improvement.