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Three Critical Questions on Leadership Development: Part 3

March 29, 2012

This is the third post in a four-part series, which includes my insight on three critical, foundational questions one ought to consider when developing or assessing a leadership development strategy.

In my last post, I reflected on why organizations should consider the use of experts in their leadership development strategy. In my first post, I contemplated the importance of leadership development. Today, I consider…

“What is the most effective form of leadership development?”

As a life-long student of leadership and having once taught leadership at the college level, I often question what pedagogical techniques serve us best in developing our leaders. There’s a world of theory and a sizable body of scholarship behind questions of this nature, but I was nonetheless pleased to find that data from the 2011 Global Leadership Forecast1 confirmed what we already suspected: more is better.

A cursory glance at the data might cause one to fixate on the fact that 73% of leaders rate formal workshops, courses, and seminars as the most effective development method1. While this datum is important, its importance is largely in reminding us that formal workshops, courses, and seminars should form the core of any leadership development effort. In the end, no single method is enough–the 2011 Global Leadership Forecast asserts that “a combination of the right [methods] lead to the highest payoff.”1 Thus, the most effective leadership development solutions are those which leverage a number of development methods, ranging from formal workshops to coaching to online collateral.

To a lay person who gives this any consideration, the “more is better” approach makes perfect sense. After all, it is a daunting challenge to deliver a leadership development solution which works for all generations, appeals to all learning styles, and fits in all cultural contexts.

What do you think? Which is your preferred method of leadership development (classroom, online, coaching, mentoring, etc)? Or do you agree that a combination of all methods is best? Let us know by commenting below.

Join me on Wednesday, April 4th, when I summarize the three critical questions I suggest one should ask when considering a leadership development strategy.



1. Jazmine Boatman and Richard Wellins, “Global Leadership Forecast 2011.” Development Dimensions International, Inc. 2011.

About the Author:

Ashley Wollam is a Program Manager at Linkage, where he is responsible for its Global Institute for Leadership Development. A life-long, passionate student of leadership, Ashley received his early leadership training at the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business at Marietta College, one of the first undergraduate leadership programs in the country.


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