Leadership development in terms of human resources management is a fundamental approach to promoting a particular enterprise’s economic performance. According to Bratton & Gold (2017), leadership development has two critical purposes, including maintenance of business by “developing leaders and managers with the skills to carry out determined roles” (p. 449). Another purpose implies business improvement with the help of new models in rapidly evolving sectors and volatile environments. The investment in leadership development enhances work performance and productivity and, thus, it is important to define the issue, examine the leaders’ and managers’ training, assessment, and activities that add value to the organization’s success.
Summary of the Article
The chosen article by Viitala, Kultalahti & Kangas (2017) examines the strategic leadership development that features in managers’ responses to future challenges in human resources management. The current academic discourse defines leadership development (LD) as a significant tool for maintaining the implementation of the organization’s strategy. In addition, it is used for supporting the continuing development of the organization and capacity-building, which is crucial for future progress. Nevertheless, considering the role of leadership development in practical terms, it is dependent to a large extent on the human resource (HR) managers and other top managers who recognize LD and its value. Therefore, the purpose of this study is based on the analysis of how leadership development reflects in the viewpoints of HR managers and other top managers concerning the future challenges of the human resources sector.
The authors argue what the findings demonstrate regarding the strategic role of leadership development in managers’ perspectives. The research design implies the use of the qualitative data, which were gathered from 473 HR managers and 276 other top managers through an internet-based brainstorming tool that received ideas from social media platforms. The obtained material was examined with the help of content analysis. However, the findings raised the concern because they revealed that top managers do not consider leadership or LD as a serious matter when asked to discuss the HR future challenges. Furthermore, the general vision of leadership development was reported as mostly “traditional and individual-centered” (Viitala et al., 2017, p. 578). Only a small number of the informants managed to link LD with the business requirements. The observations mainly included the ideas of courageous leadership and training activities. The novelty of this research lies in its ability to enhance the understanding of the LD decision-makers vision within a company and emphasize the insufficient research on this topic.
Analysis of the Article & Explanation of the Human Resources Topic
Within a single organizational structure, leaders represent a highly significant talent section, as well as opportunities and potential of the company’s performance. Therefore, leaders are a fundamental resource that helps the enterprise to provide a compelling performance and contribute to the overall business success. This research highlights the critical role of leadership development and analyzes it as a critical strategic tool in organizations. LD is one of the key elements of the practice and policy framework of human resources management, which requires the alignment with the business strategy of the specific company to be perceived as strategic. Despite the simple approach of such a concept, the reality of understanding and implementation of LD is proved a complex issue to attain. HR managers and LD professionals are the core contributors to the leadership development within any organization due to their distinctive role and proficiency in the field. However, the leadership strategies are highly dependent on senior managers since they make decisions, establish the distribution of resources, serve as a model, and carry the vital message throughout the organization on the importance of LD.
Thus, the perception of the significance and strategic focus for leadership development that these actors convey is crucial to the growth of LD practice and its strategic role in the company. The general opinion was that managers require explicit and transparent leadership structures for highly dynamic organizations, including “common sets of values, or clear HR practices and procedures” (Viitala et al., 2017, p. 583). In addition, Viitala et al. (2017) identified three main perspectives that should be considered when LD is used as a strategic tool. The first perspective implies that those responsible for decision-making must have some idea of the future challenges that the organization might confront, which LD should address. The second approach indicates that they have to determine the tasks that need to be developed to meet such challenges and, hence, increase the company’s performance. The third perspective relates to the choices that have to be made concerning the means and tactics that will be implemented to support development. With that said, HR managers must administer a broad spectrum of HR management policies and practices, where LD signifies only one segment.
The correlation between the behaviors of leaders and managers with high-performance outcomes is the topic of long-term relevance. The adequately implemented leadership strategy defines a set of behaviors, attitudes, and personal strengths that have a significant influence in the workplace. A leader’s character is a result of the ongoing process that shapes and develops individuals as they address new challenges and obtain further work experience. As such, the variety of stretch assignments encourage one to step out of the comfort zone to respond to work challenges and develop a leader character. Seijts, Crossan & Carleton (2017) state that people tend to exert “courage, humility, temperance, collaboration, and accountability” to efficiently fulfill an enterprise resource planning project within the organization (p. 35). These are the current concerns that might affect the workplace regarding leadership development.
I believe that a proper leadership climate can develop employees with strong affective commitment who are willing to contribute to innovative solutions and advance organizational effectiveness. Following the ideas of Ribeiro et al. (2020), authentic leaders can improve the employees’ work attitudes, such as “organizational commitment and job satisfaction,” which results in higher levels of job efficiency (p. 2). However, HR managers rarely consider LD as a useful approach to address the potential challenges of the organization, which I regard as a serious concern in HR management. Most of the informants discussed the traits, expertise, behavior, and traditional LD methods within an organizational culture. In my opinion, leaders are currently perceived through an individualistic and heroic view. Therefore, HR managers need to conceptualize leadership and LD in a more diverse perspective and recognize their potential from a strategic point of view.
The concept of leadership is one of the most crucial issues related to human resource management. Well-designed leadership development and employee management have a significant impact on organizational outcomes, including business innovations, products, quality, and engagement, as well as customer satisfaction, profit, and stakeholder value. Companies can significantly enhance their performance by implementing an adequate LD strategy that helps HR managers understand the concept of leadership and define what kind of leadership and activities are needed to address future challenges. To conclude, leadership development should be a primary focus in HR management to shape a vibrant corporate culture and promote organizational success.
Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2017). Human resource management: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Macmillan Education UK.
Ribeiro, N., Duarte, A., Filipe, R., & Torres de Oliveira, R. (2020). How authentic leadership promotes individual creativity: The mediating role of affective commitment. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 27(2), 1–14.
Seijts, G., Crossan, M., & Carleton, E. (2017). Embedding leader character into HR practices to achieve sustained excellence. Organizational Dynamics, 46, 30–39.
Viitala, R., Kultalahti, S., & Kangas, H. (2017). Does strategic leadership development feature in managers’ responses to future HRM challenges? Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 38(4), 576–587.