This paper was written for the attention of organisations wanting to develop leaders and create leadership programmes and it aims to highlight the fact that a leadership competency model will have an adverse effect on potential leaders.
Research has been carried out through analysing existing literature on leadership and reading autobiographies and biographies on leaders. Furthermore, the author has over 20 years' hands‐on experience of creating and leading development programmes and has used his personal experience from these courses to add to his findings.
There are numerous successful management development models and tools. Many organisations have subsequently wanted to use leadership competency models to achieve the same positive results for helping to develop leaders. There are two main areas of research into leadership; focussed and broad‐based. Focussed research has consisted of concentrating on existing leaders and looking at their behaviours and styles. This produces models of the “ideal” leader in different categories, such as leader‐as‐hero, or leader‐as‐explorer. Broad‐based research has looked at different styles leaders use and picked the “best” qualities. These qualities are then used as a programme to follow and complete. These blueprints are unsuccessful however as they hinder individuals rather than allow them to develop. The whole concept of a leader is that they stand out from the crowd rather than following others. By trying to follow existing models, these individuals end up copying rather than leading. The most important element of a leader is integrity; it is not taking on a role, but is instead about the person.
This article will be of great value to organisations wanting to develop leaders. It will demonstrate that following a competency model will act as more of a hindrance than a help, and that the organisation needs to encourage the individual to develop his or her self‐awareness rather than copying existing blueprints.
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