Leaders Growing Up in a Complex World - Introduction to 5 Development Leadership Stages

This blog is the first in a series of 5 on the topic of growing better leaders by understanding the theory around the 5 development leadership stages and the development of leadership competencies.

The increasingly complex and chaotic business world poses an urgent need to grow better leaders. Companies that seek to maintain competitive advantages require strong leadership.

However, from what I observe in my work with organizations that are implementing business systems based on standards and best practices, many leaders remain confused about how to strengthen leadership competencies. Formal training and higher education has not sufficiently prepared leaders today for all the disruptive innovations and global challenges. While some leaders thrive, others barely survive. Many of today’s executives feel as though they are in over their heads.

In a quest to unlock leadership potential, organizations invest millions in assessments, training programs and executive coaching. These investments do pay off, at least for a while. But for long-term growth, organizations and the consultants and coaches they hire, must understand leadership’s developmental stages.

How Leaders “Grow Up”

Like all maturing adults, leaders progress through sequential developmental levels. At each stage, adults gain greater awareness, cognitive capacities, and emotional intelligence capacities. Similarly, leadership effectiveness improves as one develops, matures, and expands consciousness. 

At the higher stages of development, leaders become more successful and their businesses enjoy greater results. With increased leadership effectiveness, there’s a 38% probability of seeing higher business performance according to a study from The Leadership Circle. A 38% leverage is well beyond most companies’ profit margins, hence developing capable and effective leaders must be a priority.

Developmental-stage theory is relatively new and even more cutting-edge when applied to leadership programs. Rather than focusing on training, skills and knowledge, the theory involves expanding one’s mindset and “forms of mind” (defined by New Zealand leadership coach Jennifer Garvey Berger) as our changing capacity to cope with complexity, multiple perspectives, and abstraction.

How are leaders being developed in your organization? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Contact me at  patricia@maestroquality.com, at 905-858-7566, on LinkedInMaestro’s FacebookTwitter