Archive for : March, 2013
The prominence of ‘new leadership’ in the form of transformational and authentic leadership has been indentified before. Exponents of this model of leadership advocate its potential significance to organizational performance (Parry, 2001).
He argues that just because someone goes through an experience, it does not mean that they have learnt from that experience. For example, it was shown that most managers were not active and continuous learners (Bunker & Webb, 1992). The point is amplified by Velsor and Guthrie:
Drawing on Conger’s (1996) and Burgoyne et al.’s (2004) concerns about the efficacy of leadership training, and linked to Day (2000) and Drath’s (1998) argument for leadership development to be oriented towards social systems, should formal leadership development emphasize education more than training?
Various reviews of leadership best practice (James & Burgoyne, 2001; Fulmer & Wagner, 1999; Conger, 2004) have highlighted that although there are a number of dominant themes common to organizations perceived as offering best practice, the emphasis is towards contextualization.
The lack of empirical evidence on leadership development emphasizes significant question marks on the efficacy of interventions and the return on the organizational investment (Moxley, 1998; and more recently by Burgoyne et al., 2004).
The final theme explores four interrelated issues. The first examines whether leadership development can be measured or whether it is simply best understood as an act of faith. The second theme explores the essential need to contextualize any form of intervention if any progress is to go beyond the act of faith.
Further, Conger (1993) argues for an organized approach and believes that too much leadership development has occurred in a ‘haphazard process’ (1993: 46), with little intentionality, accountability or evaluation (ibid.). Drawing these notions of development together, an equation is offered (McCauley et al., 1998: 223):
For example, work by Avolio and Luthans (2006) identified the importance of ‘trigger moments’, Bennis and Thomas (2002) highlighted ‘transformative experiences’ that shifted an individual’s identity, and Janson (2008) identified the significance of ‘leadership formative experiences’ – often attached to emotional incidents.