Leadership development: editor’s comment

No doubt some of you will have ploughed through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) recently published report Global Leadership Forecast 2008-09, which, despite the title, was largely about leadership development. Details are given in our news section.

What is striking about this research is how different UK leadership priorities are, in many cases, from the rest of the developed world. For example, when asked about their organisations’ business priorities, UK respondents were out of sync with their counterparts overseas.

For them, the overriding business priority – cited by 95% of UK respondents – was growth. Only 69% of non-UK respondents gave that as their organisation’s top priority, which for them was improving or getting more from talent – a key issue for learning and development (L&D).

It was also noticeable that other key L&D issues covered in the research – for example, improving production, efficiency and quality – were rated far higher by non-UK respondents.

Strikingly, UK leaders polled were much more focused on managing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) than their overseas counterparts.

This indicates, as much as anything, the much rawer brand of capitalism at work in the UK, as well as a more dynamic M&A culture, and possibly a more assertive leadership style where leaders have a freer hand than elsewhere.

Clearly this has its pros and cons – the latter illustrated by the current UK banking crisis, where poor decisions by leaders have cost billions – which indicates a lack of accountability among some UK business leaders.

Perhaps that’s illustrative of why the CIPD report says UK organisations are especially remiss for failing to make senior managers accountable for leadership development and failing to assure that development includes accountability.

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