Leadership Development: Beyond 2020


Leadership Development is non-negotiable for organizations that want to achieve success and emerge from the current crises facing us with COVID-19.  Leaders need to recognize the importance of their role and the capabilities they need to lead through the ongoing storm.

Leaders must develop the skills to lead change, share a vision of success, build trust and inspire others, provide direction and focus, and have the ability to assess current trends and then use that data to make immediate decisions.

Most importantly, leaders need to form a coalition of trusted advisors to help guide the organization during the turbulence.  Those trusted advisors will need leaders who are adaptable, have effective collaboration and listening skills, and are open to constructive feedback.  Leaders must realize the value of coaching and take responsibility for their own professional development.

For organizations to be more effective in the future, leaders will need to encourage teamwork and build inclusivity by developing cross-cultural relationships throughout the organization. Leaders need to effectively communicate a shared vision of the future and create trust to inspire a culture that encourages employees and teams to speak up and share ideas.

 What will Leadership Development look like in the future?

Organizations must focus on developing leaders who can navigate this rapidly changing environment. It is more complex, volatile, and unpredictable than anything previously experienced. The skills for leadership are also changing – more complex and adaptive thinking abilities are needed.

Vertical and Horizontal Development

In today’s current landscape, leaders aren’t developing fast enough for the rapid changes occurring. Development can be described as occurring in two directions: horizontal and vertical. The new challenge is how to grow leaders both vertically and horizontally to be prepared for change and the future. Vertical development enhances our ability to employ our skills and express our personality. Vertical development aligns more with capacity, while horizontal development is about the addition of more knowledge, skills, and competencies to the leader (what you know). Horizontal development is more commonplace, however, vertical development is critical for highly developed mental agility in today’s volatile business world, where agile, effective problem solving is key.

Ownership of Ongoing Development

Leaders need to take ownership of their own growth and development and assess the skills necessary to take on more responsibility. Skill requirements have changed – they’ll need to be more adaptable and collaborative, think critically and strategically, create and innovate, and be comfortable with ambiguity. To support ownership of development, there must be a culture shift to ownership of individual development and recognition and buy-in from senior leaders.

A greater focus is needed on innovating leadership development methods – experimentation of new approaches combined with diverse shared ideas and technology to provide an infrastructure to drive the change.  Organizations that embrace change will have a better opportunity to develop innovative methods. Leadership teams that focus on building a leadership culture rather than individual leadership programs and define practices that support their individual development will increase leadership capacity.

Future Trends – Here are some future trends for Leadership Development:

  • Demonstrate rapid innovation and experimentation of new leadership development approaches combined with diverse shared ideas
  • Focus on building a leadership culture rather than individual leadership programs and provide shared learning and group coaching
  • Engage in self-development and shared learning to build leadership capacity
  • Provide both horizontal and vertical development to build leadership capability and competencies
  • Introduce the application of learning skills and the application of sustaining newly learned behaviors
  • Identify career interests, provide a career path and build a talent pool for Millennial Managers
  • Democratize leadership development to encourage and allow individuals to start thinking about becoming a leader earlier in their career
  • Provide mass access to leadership development resources, leveraging the best effective educational technology available, and present a powerful solution to support learners as they embark on their journeys
  • Ask employees to define leadership development needs before conducting an engagement survey
  • Align development needs with Engagement Survey feedback results
  • Tie leadership development outcomes to performance metrics and measure outcomes
  • Create a transparent communication strategy, and identify rewards, (i.e., promotion, advancement, incentives, compensation, recognition) for advanced leadership development

Author: Dr. Nancy Zentis, CEO, Institute of Organization Development

Dr. Nancy Zentis is the Chief Strategist and CEO of Institute of Organization Development (IOD), offering online certification programs for those interested in Organization Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, and Professional Development Skills for ongoing learning.  As a consultant in the field of OD for many years, she has developed Talent Management and Leadership Development Strategies for many leading organizations.  She can be reached at info@instituteod.com.

If you would like to learn more about leadership development and become certified as a leadership development strategist, check out our online Leadership Development Certification Program (LDCP).  This program provides participants with the latest information and tools to develop an effective Leadership Development program to meet the demands of current leadership trends. After completing the program, participants earn a certification as a Leadership Development Certified Professional and earn the distinction of LDCP.  This program provides 24 SHRM and HRCI credits.

Our expert faculty provides interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning.

For more information about our certification programs in Organization Development, Talent Management, Executive Coaching, Human Resources Business Partner, visit our website www.instituteod.com.


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