Grow Better Leaders: 5 Developmental Leadership Stages

Leadership-developmentDoes your organization do a good job of developing truly effective leaders? The increasingly complex and chaotic marketplace poses an urgent need to grow better leaders. Companies that seek to maintain competitive advantages require strong leadership.

Yet from what I observe in my work in organizations, many leaders remain confused about how to strengthen leadership competencies. I don’t believe that formal training and higher education has sufficiently prepared leaders today for all the disruptive innovations and global challenges. While some leaders thrive, others barely survive. Many of today’s executives feel as though they’re in over their heads.

In a quest to unlock leadership potential, organizations invest millions in assessments, training programs and executive coaching. These investments seem to pay off, at least for a while. But for long-term growth, organizations must understand leadership’s developmental stages.

How Leaders “Grow Up”

Like all maturing adults, leaders progress through sequential developmental levels. At each stage, adults gain greater awareness and cognitive capacities. Similarly, leadership effectiveness improves as one develops, matures and expands consciousness.

At the higher stages of development, leaders become more successful and their businesses enjoy greater results. With increased leadership effectiveness, there’s a 38% probability of seeing higher business performance, according to a study from The Leadership Circle. A 38% leverage is well beyond most companies’ profit margins, so developing capable leaders should be a priority.

Developmental-stage theory is relatively new and even more cutting-edge when applied to leadership programs. Rather than focusing on training, skills and knowledge, it involves expanding one’s mindset and “forms of mind” (defined by New Zealand leadership coach Jennifer Garvey Berger as our changing capacity to cope with complexity, multiple perspectives and abstraction).

How are leaders being developed in your organization? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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