The way we learn about leadership
is essential to organizational life. We are all leaders in a sense, even if
it is just our own lives. With any decision that we make, we weigh the
implications of the choices that are in front of us, and in the end, we
accept responsibility for the choices we make.
The transition to
leading others (versus just ourselves) puts everything into a different
context. Leading others means that our decisions, our processes, and the
outcomes of our decisions are viewed and judged publicly. Leaders are agents
of the organization and any action or decision they make are viewed through
a cultural lens, a legalistic lens, a humanistic lens, and an historical
In an organizational context, just about every organization
grapples with how best to develop their leaders. The approaches range from
doing nothing to standing up a large internal leadership development
training function. Sometimes the organization does nothing in this area.
They may be too small to afford a learning program or maybe no one believes
that leadership development is integral to the health and success of the
organization. These organizations might function successfully behind a
charismatic leader for a while if the business is young and relatively
small, but as they mature, and the leadership team expands, they will have
to come to terms with the organization's role in fostering leadership.