Development Stages and Effective Leader-Managers

Developmental theories have been around for decades based on 50 years of psychological research into how adults mature. How are developmental stages applied to leader-managers? How do leader-managers grow into more effective levels of maturity, wisdom and agility? 

Organizational psychologists have since applied the basic tenets to leadership development. Their conclusions are summarized here:

  1. Just as children improve their cognitive capacities with age, so do adults.
  2. Adults, however, develop according to needs and opportunities, not because of age.
  3. Not all adults progress through all stages.
  4. Some adults can function only at lower levels of development. A small percentage attains higher levels of awareness, wisdom and compassion.
  5. As leaders progress through developmental levels, they expand their mental and emotional capacities and become increasingly skilled at handling complexity.
  6. Each stage describes a form of mind: a way of thinking about responsibility, conflicts, perspective and assumptions (about self, others and the world).
  7. Leaders may operate partially at one stage and occasionally at the next, but return to old habits before transitioning.
  8. Transitioning requires changing one’s previous assumptions to expand consciousness.
  9. Leaders who function at higher developmental stages produce significantly improved business results.
  10. Knowing a leader’s developmental level, coupled with behavioural action plans and coaching, provides a measure of competitive advantage or disadvantage.

Integrating Leader Development Stages, Emotional Intelligence, and Management Behavioural Styles for Effectiveness

These basic tenets are addressed in the programs we develop and the work that we do with leader-managers in major transition in their personal and professional life. When developing individual action plans based on our clients' objectives and designing a customized coaching approach, we honour each leader-manager's development level. Along with EQi 2.0 Emotional Intelligence assessments, we provide our clients with 3D Management Style self assessments and introduce them to eight managerial styles that complement the following comparison chart of leadership levels.

Levels of Leadership

The following table shows how four leadership experts define levels of leadership behaviours and mindsets. The table demonstrates the rich variety of vocabulary which has created a confusing array of names and definitions.  Although there are different names for the leadership stages, each describes progressive development of leadership effectiveness and have been correlated with business performance. In my next post, I'll describe more these stages.

How are leaders being developed in your organization? What concepts and tools do they need to learn and adopt to accelerate their effectiveness?

We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and begin the conversation about the value we can bring to your organization. Contact Patricia Muir at, at 905-858-7566, on LinkedInMaestro’s FacebookTwitter