Kennedy et al. suggest leadership development requires less training and evaluation of individual skills and greater attention to mindset, where mindset addresses underlying assumptions about how the social world is perceived and acted upon.
From this perspective, they suggest leadership development should:
- Question and unsettle established patterns
- Test assumptions and thought processes
- Develop practices attune to a “complex, indeterminate, and relational world”
To some degree I think Kennedy, Carroll, and Francoeur are building on the work of David Day. Day makes a very important distinction between leader development and leadership development. Leader development grows human capital. Leadership development grows social capital. Day differentiated as follows:
Orientation toward human capital [leader development] emphasizes the development of individual capabilities such as those related to self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-motivation that serve as the foundation of intrapersonal competence. Orientation toward social capital [leadership development] emphasizes the development of reciprocal obligations and commitments built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect; it rests on a foundation of interpersonal competence, but ultimately, it requires enactment. Leadership is developed through the enactment of leadership. (p. 605)
Perhaps this is at the heart of Kennedy et al.’s argument. We have traditionally emphasized leader development (behavioral skills). Now our organizations need leadership development (new and varied mindsets to deal with our fluid and complex world).
As I stated in an earlier blog: "Organizations can easily confuse leader development with leadership development (see Day, 2000). Leader development focuses more on the individual, trying to develop skills and competencies to lead. On the other hand, leadership development seeks to grow leadership throughout an organization developing relationships among leaders, understanding followership, to insure leaders are on the same page, not at cross-purposes. And when this happens, magic happens."
Day, D.V. (2000). Leadership development: A review in context. Leadership Quarterly, 11, 581-613.
Kennedy, F., Carroll, B., & Francoeur, J. Mindset not skill set: evaluating in new paradigms of leadership development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 15 (1), 10-26.
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