ATD Blog

Leaders As Teachers Action Guide: Evidence and Experience Suggests

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Excerpt from chapter 1 of Leaders as Teachers Action Guide
Evidence and Experience Suggests

There is an evolving body of evidence that suggests business, organizational, and individual value is realized when leaders serve as teachers. The following is a small sample of current research on the topic.
Results From a 2013 Leaders as Teachers Study of the Conference Board Council

In 2013, Ed Betof and Lisa Owens administered a survey to three of the Conference Board councils. These councils are comprised primarily of the senior leaders of talent, learning, organization development, and leadership development of their respective companies and organizations. Participation was voluntary.

● Widespread Use: About 90 percent of responders reported using a LAT approach for in-house leadership training programs. Additionally, nearly 30 percent use this approach for technical or business function training. About 15 percent are currently updating or expanding their LAT programs.
● LAT Program Benefits: When asked what benefits are derived from using a LAT approach the participating companies told us the following:

• 70 percent volunteered that LAT contributed in a significant way to the development of employees and emerging leaders.
• 60 percent view LAT programs as helping to strengthen organizational culture and communications.
• 50 percent said the program helped the leader-teachers develop and improve.
• 40 percent volunteered that the LAT approach is a key to driving business results and strategic alignment.
• 40 percent commented that LAT is an aid to succession planning and career development programs (Betof and Owens 2013).

Results From a 2013 Research Report Published by the Conference Board
A detailed 2013 study, The DNA of Leaders: Leadership Development Secrets, examined 19 companies that have been recognized as exemplar and top award winning organizations for their practices in developing leaders. Among their many findings was the trend that chief executives are helping to redefine notions of leadership. There has been a distinct shift away from standardized (often external, business school-centered) programs toward customized (often in-house, company-specific) programs that feature action learning as an important component and are tightly focused on non-negotiable company values. Most interviewees stressed the importance of having senior leaders heavily involved in the design and execution of their programs, and 16 of the 19 human capital survey respondents said their CEOs were highly involved in senior programs (Ray and Learmond, 2013).
Leaders as Teachers ASTD 2014 Activities:


Leaders as Teachers Action Guide—Book Signing
Tuesday, May 6, 12:00–1:00 p.m., ASTD Store

Leaders as Teachers Action Guide—Author Chat
Tuesday, May 6, 2:45–3:30 p.m., ASTD Store


Leaders as Teachers: A Powerful Lever for Growth and Change Concurrent
Tuesday, May 6, 4:00–5:00 p.m., Session TU316

To learn more or to preorder Leaders As Teachers Action Guide, visit


About the Author

Ed Betof, EdD, is a leader, teacher, coach, mentor, and author. As president of Betof Associates, he does C-level executive and leadership team coaching. He also serves as executive coach for the Center for Creative Leadership and teaches for the Institute for Management Studies. In 2007, Ed retired as worldwide vice president of talent management and CLO at Becton, Dickinson and Company. In addition, he served for eight years as the program director for the Conference Board’s Talent and Organization Development Executive Council, and was a founding senior fellow and an academic director for the doctoral program designed to prepare chief learning officers at the University of Pennsylvania. Ed is the author or co-author of five books, including Leaders as Teachers: Unlock the Teaching Potential of Your Company’s Best and Brightest, Leaders as Teachers Action Guide, and Just Promoted!: A Twelve-Month Roadmap for Success in Your New Leadership Role. He is a frequent speaker on leadership and career topics and a former ATD Board member.

About the Author

Lisa M.D. Owens is a learning expert who combines her engineering mindset with a deep interest in instructional design and learning sciences to create training that moves business forward. In 2016, Lisa and Crystal Kadakia began researching issues facing L&D in this modern age to discover the next step in the L&D industry’s evolution beyond blended learning. This led to a highly rated ATD LearnNOW program, which then inspired the book they co-authored for ATD Press, Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM. Lisa also co-authored the ATD Press book <em>Leaders as Teachers Action Guide , which is based on her experiences as global training leader at Procter & Gamble.

About the Author

Sue Todd is chief strategy officer at CorpU. She works with faculty at leading business schools, including Wharton, IESE, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and others, to adapt executive education programs to the practical needs of leaders. Sue has advised Global 2000 organizations on innovative learning and leadership development strategies since 1994. With more than 20 years experience, she has consulted with firms like Coca-Cola, Aetna, Exxon, The Boeing Company, HP, Pfizer, M&M Mars, and others to address the dynamic conditions of the 21st Century. Her current work focuses on complexity science, and how it reveals cracks in current organizational structures and practices under increasing marketplace dynamism. She is identifying approaches that can prepare leaders to embrace emergence and guide organization adaptability. Prior to joining CorpU, Sue was VP of product management for KnowledgePlanet, where she directed the evolution of the first web-based learning management system, the first business-to-business eLearning marketplace and technology-based performance management solutions. She helped both media and industry analysts shape the LMS and e-learning industries. Sue has been interviewed by  The Wall Street JournalFortune MagazineUSA TodayThe New York TimesGreentree Gazette, Workforce Week, and other HR and learning industry publications. She has published articles in  Leadership Excellence, CLOTraining and  T&D Magazines. Sue has spoken at New York University, Bellvue University, ASTD ICE, Tuskegee University, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. And for two years, in 2006 and 2007, she ran Training Director’s Forum on behalf of Training Magazine.

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