Leadership Learning and Development

Reflective Questions

• What have been the key drivers for you developing as a leader? Why have these drivers helped you develop as a leader?

• What might they be going forward? Why?

Triggers of Leadership Development

• A significant leadership challenge at an early age (e.g. captain of a sports team)

• Observing positive role models

• Mentoring, coaching and consultant relationships

• Experiential leadership development training courses

• Impact of negative role models

• MBAs and professional qualifications

• International and multicultural experiences

• Voluntary and community work

•Team sports

• Being thrown in the deep end

Turnbull and Bentley (2005)

Learning Leadership: Methods and Sources

• Variety of conventional and unconventional methods

• Need for learning by doing

• Feedback (e.g. 360°) and training

• Leaders as teachers

• Business schools

• Leadership development models

• Reflecting diversity

Leadership Development Evaluation

Traditional Leadership Development Evaluation?

Traditional Evaluative Methods

• Competency and Behaviour Frameworks

• Kirkpatrick’s Framework

Step 1: Reaction – How well did the learners like the learning process?

Step 2: Learning – What did they learn? (the extent to which the learners gain knowledge and skills)

Step 3: Behaviour – (What changes in job performance resulted from the learning process? (capability to perform the newly learned skills while on the job)

Step 4: Results – What are the tangible results of the learning process in terms of reduced cost, improved quality, increased production, efficiency, etc.?

• Does not take account of wider organisational impact and unforeseen outcomes

A Cultural Approach to Evaluation (Edwards and Turnbull, 2013)

• Anthropological in Nature – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=A77HIQI3CYU

• Case examples:

1.A large Global organisation – researched over 18 months

2.A Master’s Degree Programme in Sustainable Development

3.A survey of Leadership Development in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK

4.A UK University leadership and change programme

5.A leadership development programme for a regional sport partnership

Recommendations from Edwards and Turnbull (2013)

1.Focus on all levels

2.Take an ethnographic perspective

3.Use biographical timelines

4.Use formal and informal data gathering

5.Use Socratic investigation

6.Reflect upon culture – stories, myths, history, symbols, language, controls, power etc.

7.Start the evaluation at the design stage

Critical Approaches to Leadership Learning

Leadership Learning

• Leadership learning and development has taken a more critically reflexive turn in recent years (see Edwards et al., 2013)

• Liminality and Leadership Learning and the

Monsters of Doubt (Hawkins and Edwards, forthcoming)

Becoming a leader – Kempster and Stewart (2010)

• Research into and evaluation of leadership development programmes has been limited so far and lacking in rigour

• Kempster and Stewart’s contribution is part of a new trend to enhance our insight into leadership development in a more rigorous way

–An autoethnographic study of a manger becoming a leader (executive level)

–Leadership development through situated learning of leadership practice

–Situated means within a historical and social context and through interaction with notable others

–By adopting a leadership role, we engage in behaviours that we have learned from experience in this context, then act and reflect on our actions to inform these behaviours

Leadership as Identity (Ford, 2010 and Ford et al., 2008)

•Performative role of leadership literature:

–Reading the literature has a lasting impact on who we think leaders are and how they should be

–Leaders are largely portrayed as transcendental, perfect beings and also as masculine competitive, aggressive, controlling and self-reliant individuals

–Increasingly managers are asked to not just do a role but to become leaders, i.e. adopt the identity prescribed by literature

•In reality nobody can live up to the expectations set by the literature and in organisations

–We have multiple competing identities, not just one fixed one

–Leaders often have to ignore their preferred identity in favour of the masculine, aggressive one they think is expected of them

Resistance in Leadership Development

• Carroll and Nicholson (2014) explore issues of resistance and struggle in leadership development.

• They see resistance as an important part of leadership development and when harnessed as part of the learning process, they suggest it is an important part of the learning process in leadership development.

• By looking at resistance and struggle in this way Carroll and Nicholson challenge those that see leadership development participants as compliant and malleable as has been resonating within the functionalist discourse highlighted as pervasive in the literature by Mabey (2013).

What does this mean for leadership development?

• Avoid presenting leadership as a fixed role or identity that we can adopt and develop

• Encourage awareness of different possible selves as leaders, followers and both

• Deal with emotions and anxieties during process of becoming and being a leader

• Strengthen voices of alternative leadership models than the masculine, competitive, aggressive, self-reliant individualist one

• Reconnect with context and community and become inclusive and welcoming of critical and creative views of others

Arts-Based methods in Managerial Development (Taylor and Ladkin, 2009)

• Tools based on traditional logic and rationality assume that world is stable, knowable and predictable – this is limiting

• Non-logical activities enable people to solve problems and enact their potentials

–Accessing intuitions, feelings, stories, improvisation, experience, imagination, active listening, awareness in the moment, novel words and empathy

• Contribution of arts-based methods to development of managers and leaders:

Skills transfer – learning artistic skills that can be applied to org setting

Projective Technique – accessing inner thoughts and feelings

Illustration of essence – apprehend essence of a concept, situation, tacit knowledge

Making – deeper experience of personal presence and connection to counteract feelings of disconnect and fragmentation amongst leaders


•Carroll, B. and Nicholson, H. (2014) Resistance and struggle in leadership development. Human Relations, 67(11): 1413-1436.

•Collinson, D. and Tourish, D. (2015) Teaching leadership critically: New directions for leadership pedagogy. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 14(4): 576-594.

•Day, D.V., Fleenor, J.W., Atwater, L.E., Sturm, R.E. and McKee, R.A. (2014). Advances in leader and leadership development: A review of 25 years of research and theory. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1): 63-82.

•Edwards, G.P., Elliott, C., Iszatt-White, M. and Schedlitzki, D. (2013) Critical and alternative approaches to leadership learning and development. Management Learning, 44(1): 3–10.

•Edwards, G.P. Elliot, C., Izsatt-White, M., and Schedlitzki, D. (2015b) Using Creative Techniques in Leadership Learning and Development: An Introduction. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 17(3): 279-288.

•Edwards, G.P. and Turnbull, S. (2013) Special issue on new paradigms in evaluating leadership development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 15(1): 3–9.

•Gagnon, S. and Collinson, D. (2014) Rethinking global leadership development programmes: The interrelated significance of power, context and identity. Organization Studies, 35(5): 645-670.

•Hannum, K.M. and Craig, S.B. (2010) Introduction to the special issue on leadership development evaluation. Leadership Quarterly, 21: 581–582.

•Hawkins, B. and Edwards, G. (2015) Managing the monsters of doubt: Liminality, threshold concepts and leadership learning. Management Learning, 46(1): 24-43.

•Kempster, S. and Stewart, J. (2010) Becoming a leader: A co-produced auto-ethnographic exploration of situated learning of leadership practice. Management Learning, 41(2): 205–219.

•Mabey, C. (2013) Leadership development in organizations: Multiple discourses and diverse practice. International Journal of Management Reviews, 15: 359-380.

•Nicholson, H. and Carroll, B. (2013) Identity undoing and power relations in leadership development. Human Relations, 66(9): 1225-1248.

•Schedlitzki, D., Jarvis, C. and MacInnes, J. (2015) Leadership development: A place for storytelling and Greek mythology? Management Learning, 46(4): 412-426.

•Smolović-Jones, O., Grint, K. and Cammock, P. (2014) Public leadership development facilitation and the crossroads blues. Management Learning, 46(4): 391-411.