How leadership development has changed over the last 10 years

I want you to think back 10 years and recall how much has changed about the way we do business. In 2005 it was all about Nokia flip phones and faxes, while Facebook was just starting out in universities. Think back too and recall how we developed leaders and the skills we believed they needed. A lot has changed since then but has the way you develop your leaders changed to keep up with the times?

Back in the day, it was all about helping people develop specific skill sets and getting them to use the one right leadership style of the moment. The MBA was often a preferred method for achieving that. Our thinking has changed since then in the hope that we can develop leaders who are more in step with the needs of the people they now lead.

In this recent Forbes article author Kathy Caprino interviews Ray Carvey, Executive Vice President of Corporate Learning at Harvard Business Publishing, to understand his take on what has changed. One of the key messages of the article is around how top level leadership training has changed over the last 10 years. There are now three essential dimensions that must be considered:

  1. Developing a leadership mindset To evolve as leaders, managers have to internalise the idea that leadership is fundamentally different from managing tasks
  2. There’s a big difference between a learning organisation and a training organisation The emphasis has gone from training programs that exist in a vacuum to taking abstract learning and aligning it what leaders doing with key business objectives
  3. If content is king, then context is queen Leadership development doesn’t and shouldn’t look the same at every organisation. It must be tailored to the unique situation in which each leader will operate.

His thoughts align very well with my philosophy on leadership development and are all reflected in my flagship “Budding Leaders Program”. So the question I want to pose you is this: has your current program been adapted to suit these three dimensions or are you still acting like it's 2005?

If you want to learn more about the Budding Leaders Program and how it can help your frontline leaders to grow into the kind of people who can help your organisation to grow, then learn more at

Karen Schmidt from Let’s Grow! is the Workplace Gardener. She helps frontline managers and small business owners grow into leaders using her workplace gardening philosophy. During the process people become energised, excited and empowered to find ways to germinate the skills that lie dormant in their team. To learn all about her Budding Leaders Program, Leaders Learning Café, Workshops, Coaching services and Resources Toolkit visit To book her to speak at your next event visit

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