Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Leadership development

April 27th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Thursday was a cold, rainy day in San Diego.  Luckily that kept me going to session after session instead escaping for a walk along the pier.  And I am glad that I did.  The fourth session I attended was a panel with I/O psychologists who are working within large organizations or consulting firms. The topic of the panel presentation was Leadership Development and the panelists were from IBM, Google, Time Warner, and a couple of large consulting outfits.  It was really interesting to hear some really well considered discussion from the perspective of the human development leaders within these industry-leading firms.  Here are some of my key take aways. 

These experts understand that there is no “one-size fits all” model of leadership development.  They even seem to have abandoned the idea that there is a core set of competencies that are critical to leadership.  Instead, they view leadership as a flexible, messy concept that is a complex combination of individuals and the environment.  The key to developing leaders, in their words, is to provide opportunity for experience and reflection.  In order to become a strong leader, the individual needs to ‘do it’ and then think about it – what is the big picture?  Where are we going?  What is working?  What needs to be adjusted? 

The meaning of all of this is that the core traits we should be valuing in leaders are cognitive flexibility and mental agility.  The ability to adjust to new surroundings, make quick, informed decisions, and correct a course of action when things have gone astray.  In terms of leadership development, we should provide our leaders with opportunities for connectivity.  Encourage them to lean on one another, discuss their problems and approaches and act as peer mentors to each other.  They also suggest that we focus our ‘training’ efforts on teaching leaders to reflect and to think. 

Excellent, refreshing.  Loved these insights. 


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