The Little Book of Leadership Development

50 Ways to Bring Out the Leader in Every Employee

The Little Book of Leadership Development

Authors: Scott J. Allen, Mitchell Kusy
Pub Date: May 2011
Print Edition: $19.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437834
Page Count: 144
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417577

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MANY RESEARCH STUDIES suggest that leaders who help team

members make sense of their roles in the organization, encourage

the development of those around them, stimulate intellectual

growth, and model ethical and trustworthy behavior achieve greater

results than those who do not. Do you do these things? What would

your team say?

The Little Book of Leadership Development is filled with ideas to

help you develop leadership capacity in others. This book rests on the

notion that how you choose to develop others will significantly enhance

their technical expertise and their ability to lead others. If you are active,

involved, and perceived by members of your team as an individual

who cares about their development and growth, you will increase your

chances of success and theirs.

By intentionally changing how you lead and manage others, you

can develop leadership capacity in those around you every day. If you

take time to create a system of leadership development, there will be

less need for periodic training and development. It simply will be a

function of your department—a thread that weaves throughout the

tapestry of your day-to-day operations.

This notion is rooted in the concept that leadership development

is not something that primarily occurs in the classroom. It occurs on

the job—on the fly—each and every day. Organizations spend billions

of dollars on training each year, but often the most valuable resource,

the department manager, is left out of the loop. According to leadership

scholar Bernard Bass: “Most important to whether training will

modify behavior back on the job is the trainee’s immediate supervisor.”

1 In support of Bass’s assertion, many other researchers have

found that the level of support and overall attitude of a learner’s boss

will have the greatest effect on transfer of skills. For example, a study

led by Huczynski and Lewis supported these findings, concluding

that people who feel a high degree of support from their supervisors

report a higher level of motivation to attend and learn from training

opportunities.2 These studies underscore the importance of you in

the development process. If you are engaged, active, and involved in

leadership development, those around you will develop and grow in

their abilities.

Unfortunately, many organizations spend far too little time

preparing their key people for the significant roles they play. These

managers have been our frequent clients and report any number of

challenges to us: “We need more support”; “I don’t know how to

coach”; “Change is overwhelming me”; “I don’t have the power to

reward good performance”; “I do not have the time”; “I am not a

babysitter”; “The nuts and bolts of managing performance are beyond

me.” The Little Book of Leadership Development is designed to help

you address these and similar concerns and accelerate leader potential

in your team members.


Like the term leadership, leadership development has no consensus

definition. However, we suggest that leadership development is a continuous

process to expand the learning and performance capacity of

people in organizations and communities to meet shared goals and

objectives. To develop even mediocre skills at anything takes deliberate

coaching, practice, and reflection. Could an Olympic gymnast be developed

when provided with feedback only twice a year? Could a

world-class chef? Of course not. Developing leadership capacity is the

same as changing any other behavior or activity—it takes consistent

coaching, practice, and reflection. Yet many organizations, divisions,

agencies, communities, and departments are not structured to facilitate

these steps. As a result, people spend years in organizations and communities

with few opportunities to truly develop and grow as the

Olympic gymnast or culinary master does.



As you think about a leadership development system, we would like to

place the image of a flower in your mind. If you are like us, perhaps

some flowers have died under your watch. Amazing, given the fact that,

in essence, they simply need sunlight and water. It’s so simple. Your

development system is no different. It will need water and sunlight to

grow. It will need your time and attention—not a lot—but enough for

it to grow.

The system we present is one way to develop the leadership capacity

of the individuals with whom you work each and every day.

The “classroom” is the work environment, and the facilitator is

you, the manager. Changing how you approach your role will not

only develop the leadership capacity of those around you, but it will

likely increase their productivity as well. This may actually decrease

your workload in some areas so that you can spend the time on activities

where your unique expertise is called for. Though easing your

own workload should not necessarily be your ultimate goal, it does

imply that you’ve successfully delegated important work to others and

is reflected in improved organizational performance. In other words,

leaders create more leaders.

We propose six steps to implement your system of leadership


1. Get your own shop in order.

2. Build your leadership development system.

3. Involve others.

4. Manage the system.

5. Evaluate the system.

6. Add new pieces with caution.

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