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March 2012
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TD Magazine

What Leaders Need to Do

Paula
The theme of this month’s issue is leadership development, but instead of focusing solely on developing leaders, the articles in this issue highlight what leaders need to do to make innovation flourish in the workplace and the competencies they need to gain leadership traits and principles that can be admired among their employees.

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There is no doubt that leadership in today’s business environment is in need of a makeover. Although most people admit that there is no single approach to leadership development, few people have the answers to what is lacking in leadership and how to fix it.

Elliott R. Peterson, in his article on page 40, uses his knowledge as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves to share military best practices on leadership development programs that can apply in the corporate world. As Peterson writes, “The leader should be wherever he expects the greatest difficulty to arise. This method of positioning means that a leader must constantly assess where he is physically located relative to his team, the assigned mission, and the objectives.”

The cover story on page 34 examines the critical need for companies to create an innovative culture, and the roles that leaders play in creating and sustaining that workplace culture. Audrey Smith and Ellie Hall, both of Development Dimensions International, write that “leaders who are adept at innovation understand that failure, even repeated failure, is synonymous with learning, and is, therefore, a prerequisite for success.”

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Although most people can’t agree on exactly what skills leaders need to have to lead their companies in this workforce, they can agree that the old competencies that made leaders successful won’t work in today’s world.

“I think the world is in desperate need of a different leadership model,” Ken Blanchard says in the Long View article on page 70. “I would love to see servant leadership as the primary training model. … Great leaders are here to serve, not to be served.”

Learning professionals must play a critical role in sustaining strong leaders by teaching today’s leaders to grow tomorrow’s leaders because, as Blanchard says, “I would hope that in the future, leaders would not get promoted unless they had ready replacements who could take their jobs immediately. For the next two years, that manager who was promoted would have at least 25 percent of her performance review dependent on the performance of the person she left in charge.”

About the Author

Paula Ketter is ATD's content strategist. Previously, she served as editor of ATD's periodicals.

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