Great leadership is in large measure knowing what to delegate and what not to delegate. There is much you should delegate. There a few things you should not delegate.
Where does leadership development fall? In a healthy organization, who is responsible for developing leaders?
It’s not HR. It’s not the training department if you have one.
It’s your leaders – at every level, starting from the top. They own it.
Or should. Unfortunately, almost universally in the marketplace, they have delegated it… to HR and training professionals. As a leader, that’s one thing you can’t delegate.
Where does that leave HR and training? Does it make them irrelevant? Absolutely not. Their role is to champion leadership development –
not to own it, but to champion it.
The reverse is typically the reality: HR and training own it and the leaders champion it (mostly half-heartedly, if at all). But if HR and training own it, the leaders in the organization are off the hook. They may support HR and training, but they do so on their time – as it suits them. They tacitly encourage that ownership.
If, on the other hand, leaders (at every level) own leadership development, the roles are reversed (appropriately): HR and training are there to support them—not the other way round. They champion and promote leadership development, and as its champions and promoters, their goal is to make it easier for leaders to engage in leadership development. HR and training provide them with resources, they advise them, and they hold them accountable. They act as the conscience of the organization’s leaders.
So if you are an HR or training professional, don’t take away that ownership and responsibility from the leaders themselves. Push the responsibility back on them. Help them. Support them. Hold their feet to the fire.
And if you are a leader – at any level – don’t delegate this critical function. If you do, you’re abdicating your responsibility. Own it. Embrace it. Don’t shirk it.
After graduating from a business and engineering school in the UK, Antony worked in production management for a British textile company. He then completed his Masters in European Economics and Business Institutions at the University of Strasbourg, France. He worked as a sales manager for a Swiss company, and then started the division in Eastern France for a Dutch brokerage business.
In all this, Antony’s interest was in developing leaders, and after he came to the US in the late 80’s, he worked as a subcontractor for a training organization. He worked with hundreds of people in many different organizations, helping them lead and change their organizations. It was during this time he was struck by the confusion around leadership and how many leaders were struggling with the challenge of leading in very complex environments. Antony’s pursuit became one of finding a way that would help them the most make sense of the confusion, and that led to the creation of LeaderDevelopment, Inc. (LDI) and the subsequent development of the LDI Leadership Framework.