Contemporary Leadership Analysis (Management) Essay Example

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6Leadership Development

The subject of leadership development and management development are controversial in nature and therefore has raised substantial eyebrows. There has been augments of whether there are dangers of re-branding management development to leadership development and whether leadership can be taught which has remained to be contentious issues which have never been concluded. There has been arguments of whether in anyway, leadership traits can be acquired through cognitive, cultural and even social developments or they evolve from naturally or inborn which has never reached a concrete conclusion (Pinnington 2011)?

Getting to understand all about leadership and management and what they entail has never received substantial elaboration in the literature. This has therefore left many rooms of speculations of whether these leadership development practices rely on an individuals core traits or even behaviours, which in the long run have an effect on educating leaders, failing to answer the notion whether leaders are born or created through diverse cognitive learning techniques (Allio 2005).

To understand contemporary leadership and management development, familiarizing oneself with the accurate meaning of the terms leadership and management as used in this context is of great importance. However, their definition is difficult for there is no agreed definition for the term leadership (Rees & Porter, 2008). It is also worth noting that, there is also a considerable overlap between the two terms. According to Rees and Porter (2008) leaders are visionaries who are strategically positions of operations than managers. Leadership therefore can be defined as an individual influence to a group of individuals so as to achieve a common goal. Management on the other hand involved the exercise of administrative and supervisory direction to a group or organization or in other words, getting things done through people (Rees & Porter, 2008).

leadership and development practices have not been debated in deep in the wider business community, for it do not have a proper definition for what the terms entail and also for having a small set of theories and approaches that academia can rely on to develop appropriate learning directives. According to Pinnington (2011), the more context sensitive translational policies and theoretical discourses on leadership development have not been developed. However it has been noted that, there are a set of favourable traits and behaviours which are linked to the term leadership. This association is closely attributed to having qualities such as charisma and being able to make demanding decisions, being honest and showing empathy and most importantly in providing guidance as well put by Allio (2005). Leadership development is a practice which clearly describes a set of programs and approaches for educating leaders or even those who are aspiring to become leaders which is done through cognitive learning to instil the necessary skills and expertise to head and lead the organizations better so as to achieve the desired goals and objectives (Rees and Porter 2008).

As noted earlier, the changing and the shifting from management development to leadership development is correlated to the growing emphasis in the educational market due to an increase in supply and demand of leadership programs and activities (Rees and Porter 2008). Additionally, the decentralization of management structures within organizations in the late 80’s and early 90’s has created a demand of new breed of educational programs which have been created and branded ‘leadership development’ for those who are seeking to attain skills and knowledge in leading people and organizations however there is dire need for research to investigate why markets have resulted to leadership development as indicated by (Rees and Porter 2008). Further research by Ress (2005), global market has marred pressure on institutions to offer leadership and development rather than management development faculties. When this is said and done, there is however major concerns for the re-branding where by conventional management activities may not be well interpreted under the leadership development, possibly neglecting some important activities inadvertently breeding counter productivity in leaders.

When rebranding occurs those involved may have strong generic abilities that help them lead effectively in a variety of situations. However, there is also a need to consider the situation requirements of leadership or even the contingency approach. Ress (2010) puts it very clearly that, effective leadership and management must therefore involve accurate and equal proportions of abilities and situations. There are also chances of confusing leadership with charisma. In this case, charisma refers to the ability to make things happen by the use of force of personality. Even though it is at times important for success, it may not be important or even may be counter productive in other situations.

From the result of an empirical study by Pinnington (2011), it insinuating that leadership skills can not be taught due to the fact that, charisma is a natural or inborn attribute and can be fine-tuned over time. In another case handled by Allio (2005) charisma cannot be acquired cognitively attributed to the fact that it is an inborn quality that a leader processes and are otherwise be referred to as character, creativity and compassion .

In addition to these traits, it is noteworthy that, traits are stable constructs rather than skills that calls for development so that they can be effective as it is well put by Lord and Hall (2005). Leadership skills have been screened in terms of overt behavioral style which in the long run suggests that, leadership training can take a short duration with a main focus on learning specific behavior. This however have been contradicted by the notion that, leadership involves a more advanced mix of behavioral, cognitive and even social skills that may develop at differing rates and require different running experiences (Lord & Hall 2005).

Lord and Hall (2005) further suggests that, leadership development should go beyond just training or directed learning, which is just a surface structure skills, rather it should be deep, principled aspects of leadership which are beneficial in understanding the long term development of effective leaders. In other words, there is little leadership theory and empirical research that is linked to the slower development of core leadership qualities through a process that is taken in a wide scope which describe features like behaviour and deeper structures which have principles that can be changed and join hands to have the desired skill development.

Additionally, Lord and Hall (2005) emphasized that, to understand how leadership expertise develops is only by recognizing that knowledge is not created or used as an unchanging and autonomous entity. According to them, it is generated or reached with the requirements of the current tasks in mind. This entail that, the knowledge available to a leader therefore varies due to the current task. In addition to this, self knowledge also impacts the leadership development as it is well put by Lord and Hall (2005). Allio (2005) stated that, many leadership training initiatives fail to achieve the desired goals simply because that teaches leadership theory, concepts and principles. These in the long run cultivate leadership literacy but fail to address the most important aspect which is leadership competence. He also emphasized that, leadership can never be taught, but rather it can be learned. This in other words state that, leaders become so by practice and deliberately performing acts of leadership.

Conclusively, it has been autonomously agreed that organizations requires competent leaders who can perform in accordance to the goals and objectives. This however has been marred by complications for there is very little information of any single training program that can give rise to leaders competent. However, it is autonomously agreed that, a good leader should be competent and ethical and should be capable of establishing and strengthening value and purposes, nurture vision and strategy while building community and work towards culminating for organization change. This can only be achieved by having a clear character, creativity and compassion which are of great importance but cannot be achieved cognitively.


Allio, R.J. (2005). Leadership development: teaching versus learning. Management Decisions, vol. 43, no. 7/8, pp. 1071-1077.
Lord, R.G. and Hall, R.L. (2005). Identity, deep structure and the development of leadership skill, Leadership Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 591-615.
Pinnington, A.H. (2011). Leadership development: applying the same leadership theories and development practices to different contexts? Leadership, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 335-365.
Rees, W.D. and Porter, C. (2008). The rebranding of management development as leadership development and its dangers. Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 242-247.