Differentiating Leader and Leadership Development

Posted: June 29, 2016

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Article Review: Differentiating Leader and Leadership Development

The article titled “Differentiating leader and leadership development: A collective framework for leadership development” by Afroditi Dalakoura evaluates the predominant discernments about the development of leadership, assesses the factors that influence organizational leadership development and recommends a comprehensive strategy for nurturing leaders. Its purpose is to analyze current perceptions about the mentioned topic through various exsiting literature. Dalakoura (2010) basically differentiates leader and leadership development and how this variation affects organizations. The author proposes a collective framework. It means that rather than having a top-down leadership, a firm should adjust to current trends in management and adapt a style that produces leaders out of individuals within the company. Contemporary processes of leading demands coordinated actions from all parts of an organization. Being a good leader does not only depend on being able to do everything by oneself but by encouraging everyone to have leadership skills as well. By appraising the present literatures on leadership development, Dalakoura (2010) ascertains the determinants of leadership development in view of the circumstances under which leadership is cultivated. He asserts that leadership should be developed in all levels. The author proposes a collective framework that involves everyone in the firm to develop a culture of accountability and create leaders out of everyone.

According to Amit, Popper, Gal, Mamane-Levy, & Lisak (2009), leaders have long been perceived as self-efficient and has experiences that could be used by an organization in their specific dealings. Dalakoura (2010) argues that leadership is not merely a personal phenomenon, but an intricate relationship between an individual leader and the organizational and social setting. Leadership development has evolved into an inevitable strategic necessity for any organization that envisions survival and success due to forces stemming from both internal and external corporate environments. There are numerous leadership development strategies whose success largely relies on the support, effort, involvement and commitment of an organization’s management (Harris & Short, 2014). Leaders are not only defined by what an individual can do, but the sum of all factors that affect an organization's success (Dalakoura, 2010). All the activities inside a firm should be involved in the evaluation of leadership.

Dalakoura provides a precise and comprehensive background of the lack of distinction between leadership development and the concepts of a leader. The author states that leadership development is much broader than the sheer development of leadership skills, but also stresses that leader development is a vital aspect of organizational success. Dalakoura (2010) argues that the lack of a clear cut line between leader development and leadership development may have stemmed from a tendency by most empirical studies to consider leadership primarily as an individual trait, particularly a leader’s skills and behaviors. Through a systematic process, such challenge could be alleviated. There are actually many ways to conduct such activity. In order to take advantage of the different factors, some critics suggest transformational leadership. This kind of style is actually related to leader effectiveness (Guay, 2013). The focus of a transformational leadership is directed towards building the organizational objectives and its achievement (Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2004). This means that an effective leader could be used to spearhead the goals of a firm while holding the various employees accountable to ensure the group's success. This is in conjunction with all organizational factors working as one unit.

Dalakoura aligns his assertions to facts pertinent to leadership development. For instance, he states common practices for leader and leadership development, such as coaching and mentoring, 360-degree feedback, action learning, networking, corporate case studies, specific job assignments, computer simulations and experiential learning, all of which are known techniques. Some critics propose other strategies concerning Dalakoura's assertion. Servant leadership have been known to build trust not only to the leader but for the whole organization (Joseph, & Winston, 2005). This kind of characteristic could be added to the leader to build effectiveness. It is important to build trust in an organizational environment that instills the virtue of accountability.

Dalakoura (2010) argues that leadership development entails interactions between leaders and their organizational and social settings. To support the claim, he refers to another author’s view that ancient perspectives on leadership were individualistic and non-systematic. It is clear from the article that leadership development deals with developing an organization’s social capital and is mainly concerned with expanding people’s capacity to learn, comprehend intricacy and set goals for the entire organization while leader development seeks to develop human capital. The author goes further to stress that both leader and leadership development are critical to organizations in order to increase the effectiveness of leadership. The power of followers have been increasing in today's corporate setting while the leader's roles are diminishing (Allio, 2012). The author proposes aligning a new leadership perspective with the overall organizational goals and strategies to ensure the greatest effect of leadership development on organizational performance. Everyone inside the organization should be developed. They should be imbibed with leadership skills necessary for the alignment of strategies and goals. The author ensures that leaders should not underestimate leader development but gives preference to leadership development.

Dalakoura elaborates the increasing need for developing leadership in an organization. Leadership development is presented as a progressively strategic and critical necessity for organizations. To emphasize on this point, the author argues that organizations that endeavor to success and survive the present day’s highly competitive and turbulent corporate environment have to develop leadership at all organizational levels. Dalakoura (2010) analyzes the potential reasons for the phenomenon, which include factors in the internal and external corporate environments. He mentions advances in technology, intense global competition, disproportionate uncertainties, and stark hostility as examples. This requires expert and immediate handling from all members of the organization. Therefore, leadership skills are essential for all employees.

Dalakoura’s article gives insights on several shortcomings of most of the present organizational structures. Bureaucracy in most organizations limits the development of leadership in other employees apart from people in higher levels of management. Organizations focus most on developing human capital and other aspects of the organization, paying little or no attention to social capital. According to Harris & Short (2014), leadership development entails the collective growth of an organization’s members. Surprisingly, however, leadership development is not considered a strategic imperative for many organizations, nor does form an integral part of the competitive strategy formulation. Organizational success is essentially a team effort, implying that the development of appropriate competencies in all members of an organization is vital to the successful implementation of a firm’s corporate strategy. Therefore, leadership development programs should be incorporated into the normal organizational practices.

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