By intentionally changing how you lead and manage others, you can develop leadership capacity in those around you every day, according to Scott Allen and Mitchell Kusy in their book The Little Book of Leadership Development: 50 Ways to Bring Out the Leader in Every Employee. Leadership development is not something that primarily occurs in the classroom; it occurs on the job, and the trainee’s immediate supervisor is the most important factor in behaviour modification.
So what exactly is it that a busy senior leader can do to help subordinates improve their leadership skills? This book provides 50 suggestions for activities and tasks that can be included in a leadership development program, divided into the categories of modelling effective leadership, skill building, conceptual understanding, personal growth and feedback.
Many of the ideas in the book are fairly standard leadership issues, such as clarifying team expectations, modelling the way, and recognising and rewarding achievement. Others, such as coaching for performance and developing emotional intelligence, really require a lot more explanation than the one or two pages afforded to them in the book—perhaps a whole book in themselves.
The book is short and easy for the busy executive to read, either from cover to cover or one brief chapter at a time, as the need for inspiration in leadership development activities arises. Many senior leaders are likely to find it more useful than a shelf full of theoretical books; its benefit lies in its usefulness as a quick list of leadership development ideas, rather than as a source of original leadership concepts.