Defining Leadership Development

  • Synergistx Synergistx
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leadership development

Defining Leadership Development: The Technical Definition

According to BusinessDictionary, defining leadership development is as follows:
“Teaching of leadership qualities, including communication, ability to motivate others, and management, to an individual to an individual who may or may not use the learned skills in a leadership position.

However, this definition does not cover all of what leadership development must encompass.

What is Missing?

Simply offering or encouraging leadership training is not leadership development. Growth often comes to a halt when the training stops. This is a problem because, after all, training itself is merely a beginning. Learning is a continuous growth process; there is no ending point.

Putting it Together

Although leadership development may include training, it is not the only aspect. When defining leadership development, it is important to understand that it is an iterative process. Process is a key word. Take the following list as an illustration of what a process should look like:

  • Assess team members
  • Take action (seminars, workshops, activities, etc.)
  • Provide development time, encourage actual growth
  • Reassess team members (validation) and repeat

Our friends at BlueEQ™, experts in the field of Emotional Intelligence, label this an integrated solution for creating sustainable behavioral change.

integrated solution

Defining Leadership Development with Emotional Intelligence


As noted above, it begins with a method of assessing individual skills and understanding the results. When it comes to organizational leaders, there should be a great amount of urgency to assess their emotional intelligence. After all, it is the leader of a team that sets the tone for collaboration and productivity. In fact, research points to Emotional Intelligence as the #1 principle for a leader to enable teammates to fully engage and achieve superior business impact.


Following the assessment period, it is time to take action. This action, as shown above, can be as complex as a dedicated seminar or as simple as a group activity. Of course, the goal of an action is a reaction – or growth. Note that emotional intelligence is not just a buzzword but also a necessary skill for organizations. Our experts have a unique approach to emotional intelligence that will sky rocket job performance and leadership effectiveness.

Development Time

Providing development time allows practical application of their new skills. Further, employees gain critical experience while applying the skills. What we hope to see are increases in emotional intelligence. Which in turn create greater psychological safety that fosters innovation, creativity, engagement, and job satisfaction.

Reassess and Repeat

Validation is the final iterative step, but not the end. Much like the initial assessment, we investigate individual skills and analyze the results. Individuals are able to recognize the effect of the action phase, and acknowledge their growth. Consequently, it is time to start again. As stated in the beginning while defining leadership development it is an iterative process. While we have reached the final step, remember that it is now time to repeat the process.

Workplace trust (what we call Psychological Safety) is the number-one factor in having a successful team. Everyone on the team has ownership over a team’s culture of trust, but it’s the leader who sets the tone. This leadership development process helps build action-oriented leaders, ready to enhance their team’s success at executing on the company strategy.


Do you still have questions about defining leadership development, and its scope?