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Leadership Development Models

Posted on July 09, 2015 By Jake White

Businesses need leadership programs more than ever. As the Baby Boomer generation begins to exit the workforce, the next generation of leaders need to be developed to take on new leadership responsibilities. There are thousands of books on leadership. It can be daunting to identify a leadership development model that works for your organization. From our experience, here are some of the best leadership models to incorporate into your organization's employee development efforts.

The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M.R. Covey
  Key Idea   Trust is a measurable accelerator of performance. Optimizing trust produces superior, sustainable results.
Summary Leaders need to know how to navigate themselves in the “Five Waves of Trust”: Self, relationships organizational, marketplace, and the global society.
Skills Four Cores: Integrity, intent, capabilities, and results. There are 13 behaviors that are common to all high-trust leaders: talking straight, demonstrating respect, creating transparency, righting wrongs, showing loyalty, delivering results, getting better, confronting reality, clarifying expectations, practicing accountability, listening first, keeping commitments and extending trust.
Program Webinars; 2-day workshops; assessment


The Extraordinary Leader, by Jack Zenger
  Key Idea Data-driven leadership development; strengths-focused approach to leadership development, helping organizations develop leaders who produce/accelerate positive business outcomes.
Skills Identify and develop 3-5 of the “16 differentiating competencies” of leadership, and remove any of the five fatal flaws, which include: Inability to learn from mistakes, Lack of core interpersonal skills, Lack of openness to new or different ideas, Lack of accountability, and Lack of initiative.
Programs 360-feedback; coaching; workshops


Good to Great and Built to Last, by Jim Collins
  Key Idea Companies that outperform the market practice all focus on preserving the core of their business and stimulating progress. Good is the enemy of great.
Summary Companies that were able to sustain success and grow from good (performing well) to great (significantly outperforming the market) have a common set of practices that set them apart from other companies.
Skills Good to Great practices: Level 5 Leadership (mix of humility and will), First Who, then What (get the right people on the bus), Confront the Brutal Facts - yet never lose faith, Hedgehog Concepts (what are you passionate about, like to do, that people will pay for), Culture of Discipline (prioritize, remove “class distinctions between management teams, etc.), Technology Accelerators, and the Flywheel (consistent effort over time).
Program Read book and discuss with management team(s)


The Leadership Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner
  Key Idea Leaders must earn the right and respect to lead by developing timeless leadership practices.
Summary The authors present two important frameworks of great leadership. Leaders should practice “The 5 Practices and Exemplary Leadership” and make “The Ten Commitments.”
Skills Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership: 1. Model the Way; 2. Inspire a Shared Vision; 3. Challenge the Process;
4. Enable Others to Act; 5. Encourage the Heart.
Program 360-feedback; workshops (courseware and materials can be purchased)


The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
  Key Idea People Who Feel Good About Themselves, Produce Good Results
Summary Catch people doing right and praise them; Be Immediate, Dont save it till later; Help People Reach Their Full Potential; Be tough on performance not tough on the person; Goals Begin Behaviors – Consequences Maintain Behavior; The Best Minute I Spend Is The One I Invest In People
Skills Set goals, praise good behavior, reprimand when necessary
Program Situational leadership programs by Ken Blanchard Companies


Crucial Accountability, by Vital Smarts
  Key Idea By learning how to talk about violated expectations in a way that solves problems while improving relationships, you’ll improve individual, team, and organizational effectiveness.
Summary The six-cell model is used to identify six sources of influence and motivation. Using this model, a leader can understand what may be getting in the way of results, and can diagnose and address the correct roadblock. Leadership commonly blame personal motivation for poor performance. The six-cell model is a tool that helps people gain a more complete view of human behavior and performance. By addressing the correct problem with accountability, leaders can avoid disengaging talented people who simply need support in the right way.
Skills Enhancing accountability, improving performance, and ensuring execution
Program Two-day workshop by VitalSmarts


Primal Leadership, by Daniel Goleman
  Key Idea A leader’s emotions are contagious; leaders must develop emotional intelligence to drive positive emotions that lead to results.
Summary There are “resonate leaders” and “dissonant leaders.” When a leader brings energy and positive emotions to an organization, it thrives.
Skills Self-awareness; self-management; social-awareness; social management
Program Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (assessment); workshops or coaching in emotional intelligence.


Leadership and Self-Deception, by The Arbinger Institute
  Key Idea Individuals can become more effective leaders by increasing self-awareness and holding themselves accountable. Self-deception is the most common and most destructive element in many organizations.
Summary Leaders fail to treat people with respect by creating a distorted view of reality, or a “box,” in which they blame others. While people are “in the box,” they focus more on protecting their own self-justifications than on achieving results or encouraging others. People get “out of the box” by acknowledging their role in creating conflicts, and being out of the box leads to stronger leadership and improved relationships.    
Skills 1. Learning about the Box. 2. Get out of the Box. (i.e., increasing self-awareness of your part in the relationship process)
Program Assessments; guided “interventions”; training workshops; multi-week webinar series (see:


A Failure of Nerve, by Edwin Friedman
  Key Idea Rather than leading from reactive instincts, leaders should take a more emotionally mature, intentional, thoughtful, principled approach. Leaders need to manage the emotional processes of their relationships to be effective.
Summary This leadership model comes from systems theory rather than psychology; it emphasizes personal responsibility and managing the inevitable emotional reactivity or self and others.
Skills Empathy, independence, empowerment, identifying emotional processes
Programs Assessment: Differentiation of Self Scale; trainers that also emphasize Bowen Systems Theory: Jeffery Miller (“The Anxious Organization”) and Roberta Gilbert (“Extraordinary Leadership”)