In many agencies there is disagreement over who is responsible for leadership development. In some organizations, responsibility for leadership development is delegated to HR. In others, leadership development is viewed as the domain of trainers. In yet other organizations, employees expect the agency’s senior leadership to take the lead.
They are all right—to a point. All three groups–HR staff, leadership trainers and senior leaders–have an important role in facilitating leadership development in the agency. Their roles should be as follows:
• HR should ensure that the agency’s personnel policies are aligned to ensure that effective leaders rise to the top. That means leadership capacity must be a key factor in promotions and hiring/selections for key leadership positions.
• Leadership training should be easy to get and trainers should ensure that leadership training courses are of high quality and relevant to the agency’s culture and needs.
• Senior leaders throughout the organization should make it clear by word and deed that leadership is important and valued in their agency. That means being good mentors, coaches, and role models.
And it sure helps if someone is connecting the dots between the leadership development efforts of HR, the trainers and the managers to ensure that their efforts are mutually reinforcing and that that are no gaps.
The Real Bottom Line
The person with the ultimate responsibility for leadership development, however, is YOU. All the incentives, training, and mentors in the world will accomplish nothing if each individual does not take ownership of his/her own leadership development. Learning to lead is a lifelong process. It’s hard work that requires practice, new skills, lots of feedback, and continual reflection. And only you can do it.
So, what are you going to do about it? How committed are you to growing as a leader? There’s no time like the present to begin! Seek out the experiences, mentors, and courses that can help you along the way. Seek feedback and make time for reflection. And never, ever, stop learning.
This article was cross-posted at the GovLeaders Blog.