Who Really Owns Leadership Development In Your Organization

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.