Nadler (1990) defined HRD as organized learning experiences in a given period to bring about the possibility of a performance change or general growth for the individual and the organization. Nearly two decades later, Swanson (1999) defined HRD as “a process of developing and unleashing human expertise to improve individual, team, work process, and organizational system performance”. Each of these definitions relates to the development of people within organizations as well as, the organization as a system or entity.
According to Gilley (1998), development refers to the personal and professional advancement of employees’ knowledge, skills, and competencies. Thus, an individual focus (individual development) reflects a philosophical commitment to the professional advancement of employees within the organization (career development) and their performance improvement. It also includes the development of an organization’s performance capacity and capability to include creativity and innovation (Swanson, 1999). Consequently, the organisation experiences greater efficiency, more effective competitive practices, and enhanced profitability (organizational development). According to Burke (1992), development refers to the continuous improvement of an organization’s culture through interventions that crystallize the organization’s mission, strategy, structure, policies and procedures, work climate, and leadership practices.
What is Developmental Leadership?
According to Hudson (1999), Developmental leadership is the process of equipping people with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to grow, develop, change, and become more effective. McIntyre (2010), stated that developmental leadership involves creating a synergistic relationship with employees, the primary benefit of which is the establishment of a collegial partnership based on two-way communication, trust, and honesty, while non-judgmental, free of fear, personal, and professional.
What is the importance of developmental leadership?
Developmental leadership allows leaders the opportunity to better serve their employees through a variety of activities such as integrated communications, developmental evaluations, performance growth and development activities, and reward and recognition systems used to improve employees’ accomplishments and development (McIntyre, 2010). The result is motivated, productive employees, ready to accept challenges, take initiative, innovate, and creatively solve problems. It must be noted that developmental leaders do not develop people—they equip people to develop themselves.
In the words of Stone (1999), developmental leadership provides organizations and their employees with creative, safe outlets through which to provide innovative and creative solutions to complex problems. It enables organizations to innovate, identify, and incorporate new ideas, processes, or procedures that will help the firm rebuild, renew, re-energize, and create successful business strategies. Over and above that developmental leadership proves to be a dynamic tool in performance improvement that uses employees’ growth and development, creativity and innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork, for example, in the quest to secure desired organizational performance.
What are the characteristics of Developmental Leaders?
According to Gilley (2008), developmental leaders possess several personal qualities, including enthusiasm, self-control, impartiality, honesty, self-confidence, genuineness, friendliness, optimism, vision, open-mindedness, flexibility, and resourcefulness. Also, such kind of leaders must willingly accept criticism, maintain a sense of humour, allow others to offer suggestions and recommendations, and be accepting of employees’ successes and failures (Gilley, 2008). In the words of McIntyre (2010), developmental leaders are emotionally competent and capable of sustaining relationships, providing a fear-free environment, and maintaining high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. They are also capable of imagining, wondering and envisioning possibilities, listening intently and objectively to employees, empathizing with and validating employees, and expressing feelings naturally and appropriately (Gilley, Gilley, & McMillan, 2009).
McConnell & Veliquette (2010), said that one of the enduring hallmarks of the developmental leader is change and innovation; hence, they question the status quo, feel challenged by the unknown, and look at things from new perspectives. Yet another feature of developmental leaders is that there are future-oriented and cautiously optimistic, developmental leaders take personal risks, are willing to make mistakes and learn from them, are driven by personal integrity, and inspire others to be their best. Such leaders confront behaviours that shut down human energy and hope while they nurture employees in transition and facilitate learning, training, and referrals (Hudson, 1999).
Moreover, developmental leaders treat employees as clients who deserve unique attention. According to McIntyre (2010), developmental leaders create fear-free environments that bring the best out of employees by establishing clear performance goals, expecting success and encouraging excellence, asking questions and providing accurate feedback, allowing mistakes, and being patient with those who are experiencing difficulty on the job. Such leaders link inner purpose to performance outputs and inspire others to be more effective (Rummler & Brache, 1995).
McIntyre (2010), stated that developmental leadership is based on the belief that leaders are supportive of interventions, initiatives, and activities that help employees (a) be more involved in decisions that directly affect them, (b) be assertive regarding their needs, if not their rights, (c) plan their careers, (d) become more a part of the workgroup, (e) obtain more interesting jobs or enrich the ones they have, (f) have opportunities for additional training, education, and personal development, (g) be more involved with their superiors in establishing the objectives and quotas they are expected to reach, and, in general, (h) receive respect and fair treatment.
What are the core values of developmental leadership?
According to Hudson (1999), developmental leadership is based on six core values:
Based on one's self-esteem, confidence, identity, inner motivation, a positive sense of self, clear ego boundaries, self-love, and courage
Through reaching goals, conducting projects, working, winning, playing in organized sports, having ambition, getting results and recognition, and being purposive.
By being intimate, making relationships work, touching, feeling close, nesting, parenting, and being a friend.
Play and Creative
From being imaginative, intuitive, playful, spontaneous, original, expressive, humorous, artistic, celebrities, funny, curious, and childlike.
Searching for Meaning
By finding wholeness, unity, integrity, peace, an inner connection to all things, spirituality, trust in the flow of life, inner wisdom, a sense of transcendence, and bliss.
Compassion and Contribution
By improving, helping, feeding, reforming, bequeathing, being generous, serving, social and environmental caring, institution building, and volunteering.
In light of the above discussion, Human Resources Development can improve the competitive advantage of any organisation if it is effectively utilised.
Gilley, A., Dixon, P., & Gilley, J. W. (2008). Characteristic of leadership effectiveness: Implementing change and driving innovation in organizations. Human Resource Development Quarterly.
Gilley, A., Gilley, J. W., McConnell, C. W., & Veliquette, A. (2010).The competencies that effective managers employ to improve teamwork and collaboration: An empirical study. Advances in Developing Human Resources.
Newturn Wikirefu is the Talent Acquisition Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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