Most leadership development programmes have a critical weakness: they view leaders as sets of competencies, not as individuals. But there is another way.
Can you teach leadership? The growth of leadership development programmes – a $14bn industry in the US alone – suggests you can. Yet Eric J. McNulty, writing for MIT Sloan Management Review, says that the focus of most of these programmes on tick-box competencies doesn’t serve the current age well. In today’s turbulent times we don’t need standardised leaders: we need individuals who work well in their context.
There is a quiet, ongoing movement pushing back against this conformity. It’s akin to the maker movement (customisation and iteration) versus industrial production (stamping out millions of identical parts). There are two principal drivers of this change: