What Is Leadership Development?

Career Enrichment, Confidence, Leadership Coaching, Mindset & Mindfulness, Overcoming Fear
10/24/22 - Kristin Simon
colleague showing another colleague something on an ipad

Leadership development is an important concept no matter who you are. Which of these scenarios do you identify with?  

  • You are a leader that is trying to strategize ways to increase organizational employee engagement and retention.
  • Or maybe you are a manager of teams that wants to enable their employees to continue to advance to the next levels within the organization. 
  • Finally, maybe you are someone who wants to be a lifelong learner and ensure you are putting yourself in situations in which you continue to have opportunities to grow and develop your skills. You place a high value on working for a company that both appreciates and invests in you by providing you leadership and development.  

The following will provide some helpful information on what leadership development is, why you should care about it no matter who you are, and one specific framework for developing leaders.

What is leadership development anyway?

Leadership development is any training, development and education that supports employees in being the best that they can be. There are countless ways to develop leaders. Some programs are more formalized in which organizations provide structured training to employees, and some are more individualized.  Whatever the case may be, any training provided should be in alignment with working with individuals to achieve their own career goals AND in developing leaders that will support a company in driving results and reaching their organizational goals. As you can see, this is a win-win scenario. 

To further the case on why Leadership Development is important check out the following staggering statistics:

Cited from (Leadership Statistics: 21+ Surprising Facts to Drive Growth (sproutworth.com)

  • A startling 79 percent of employees will resign if they do not feel appreciated by their superiors.
  • 69 percent of young people (Millennials) are concerned that their company does not foster leadership development.
  • Training can increase leadership performance by 28%.
  • An alarming 40% of new leaders fail in the first 18 months.

So now that you know what it is and why you should care about Leadership development, where do you even start? As mentioned before, leadership development comes in many shapes and sizes. Some organizations may have a large amount of dollars they are able to invest in training programs. And that is great! But “investment” doesn’t always have to be about the dollars spent. The larger question is, is there a culture of growth and development at the organization. Do leaders care about working with their employees to develop? 

Whether you are a manager who wants to help their leaders develop or someone who wants to be developed, the following is a learning model that presents a helpful way to put together a plan.

Learning can happen in many different ways. It can be experiences gained on the job, training or education that occurs via relationships with others such as mentors or colleagues and finally, formal training in the most traditional sense such as courses or books. The 70/20/10 learning model (a concept introduced by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger) is a blend of these three types of learning. 

The first step is identifying what the goals of the plan are. What are you hoping to get better at, and how will you know when you do this? Maybe someone has identified these goals for themselves, or they have received feedback to arrive at these goals. Regardless, the next step is how to get there, which is where the 70/20/20 comes in.

To provide a simplified example of the application of this learning principle and the potential positive results, imagine that you, the employee, have received feedback from your manager that in order to be considered for promotions in the future you need to be better at presenting in meetings. 

Your first step:

Define what success looks like: 

  1. Slides are engaging, clear, and concise
  2. Memorize key talking points without the need for a line-by-line script
  3. Slow down
  4. Speak loud and clear and enunciate

Your development plan for achieving this goal could look like this:

70 – You work with your manager to give you opportunities to present more often in meetings. The more you do it, the better you will get.

20 – You talk with others at the organization to find out what could specifically be better about your presenting skills. You speak with other colleagues or mentors to find out how they have improved their skills. 

10 – You find a free course online to help you improve your presentation skills.

Last step (and arguably the most important):

Stop, think, reflect and connect the dots. How did each of these activities help you? What did you learn? Where do you still need to improve in order to reach the “success” defined above? Rinse and repeat as necessary.


  1. You, the employee, feel appreciated because your manager and organization are providing opportunities for you to develop your presentation skills which can lead to a future promotion. 
  1. In providing these opportunities, which really comes down to time, energy, and attention in this scenario, the organization increases the chances that this employee will be engaged in doing their best work, will stay with the organization, and will of course be better at presenting information in meetings. 

Hopefully, this example, while simple, enables you to see the positive results of giving or receiving leadership development! 

At Ama La Vida, our Leadership coaches can work with leaders to think about plans and frameworks, such as the 70/20/10 learning model, to grow and develop their teams. Our coaches also meet with individuals who are taking initiative to work on developing their own individual skills as they work towards their career goals. 

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