Leadership Development refers to activities that improve the skills, abilities, and confidence of leaders. Programs vary massively in complexity, cost, and style of teaching. Coaching and mentoring are two forms of development often used to guide and develop leaders. According to Baldwin and Ford (1988), the success of leadership development is influenced heavily by the quality of the program, the level of support and acceptance from superiors, and the characteristics/learning style of the person being developed.
Leadership development, as traditionally practiced, focuses on one-off educational events, but research at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, has shown that participants often return to the office from such events energized and enthusiastic only to be stifled by the reality of corporate life. It’s far more effective to pair classroom training with real-life exposure to a variety of jobs and bosses—using techniques like job rotation, special assignments such as establishing a regional office in a new country, and “Action Learning,” which pulls together a group of high-potential employees to study and make recommendations on a pressing topic, such as whether to enter a new geographical area or experiment with a new business model.