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15 Examples of Leadership Development

 , updated on February 10, 2019
Leadership development is the process of developing the competencies of employees so that they can take a lead in your organization. This is a component of talent management and succession planning. The following are illustrative examples of leadership development.

Competency Management

The process of identifying the competencies that are critical to an organization to develop bench strength that supports growth and mitigates succession risks.

Competency Assessments

Formal assessments that allow an employee to demonstrate that they have achieved a competency. This can involve testing or certification of work experiences and performance.

Performance Management

The process of setting objectives for employees and evaluating performance against these targets. This identifies high performers who are candidates for leadership development.

Career Planning

Career planning is an opportunity for employees to communicate their goals for their career and for an organization to communicate what it will take to achieve these goals. This allows employees to express interest in leadership development and for expectations to be set about what the program requires.


Employees in a leadership development program are typically given challenging performance objectives designed to give them experience and to allow them to demonstrate their competence.


Modern leadership development programs are based on transparent processes whereby the criteria for entering and remaining in the program are openly published. This is communicated to fight perceptions that a leadership program is based on favoritism.


Support for education such as high performing employees who want to complete an MBA.

Job Rotation

Job rotation is the practice of giving employees experience in a wide range of jobs. In some cases, a firm views understanding a broad range of roles as preparation for leadership. For example, a firm where the CMO is expected to have experience in both sales and marketing positions.

Organizational Structure

In some cases, roles are created in an organization to develop leadership. For example, splitting your sales team into three separately managed teams to create new management positions that are meant to provide experience for individuals who have potential to be executive management. This may also support succession planning as you develop experienced sales managers who can take over the leadership of the sales department if required.

Organizational Culture

An organizational culture where authority means little such that employees who find ways to add value end up leading things. This allows leadership development to occur based on the norms of your organization without a formal program.

Internal Competition

In many cases, competition between individuals in a leadership development program is encouraged. For example, asking participants to pitch ideas for improvement to executive management would tend to create a competitive spirit amongst participants.


Accomplishing work by asking for employees to voluntarily join a committee. For example, a committee with an objective of making a workplace safer after a series of security incidents. Individuals who take the initiative to join committees that represent extra work are often excellent candidates for leadership development. Committees can also build leadership capabilities by providing diverse work experiences.

Training & Development

The development of training plans and access to internal training, external training, workshops, conferences and other development opportunities.

Knowledge Transfer

Programs for transferring knowledge such as lunch and learn sessions. These can be used to give individuals opportunities to improve their public speaking abilities as well as to transfer knowledge to future leaders.

Change Management

Change management is the process of communicating change and clearing issues. This often involves sidelining resistance to change and empowering agents of change. As such, change management is an excellent path for identifying employees who make things happen and giving them more responsibility.
Overview: Leadership Development
The process of developing the competencies of employees so that they can take a lead in your organization.
Related Concepts

Leadership Skills

This is the complete list of articles we have written about leadership skills.
Change Management
Decision Making
Design Thinking
Personal Resilience
Problem Solving
Public Speaking
Relationship Building
Social Status
Strategic Planning
Systems Thinking
Time Management
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