A consistent theme throughout is that books on the topic need “…to be more than a simple ‘how to be a more effective leader’ guide…” because the process “…is much more profound than simply listing ‘do this and do that and you will be a great leader’” (p. 11). I’m in complete agreement with him. He also states:
I believe that leadership development is by far one of the most complex human processes in that it involved leaders, followers, dynamic contexts, timing, resources, technology, history, luck, and a few things we have not thought of yet. However, it is in many ways like other complex phenomena, models, and processes in that once we break it down into its essential parts, or get the code, we can begin to understand how the various pieces fit together into the whole. (p. 4)
Leadership books that don’t acknowledge this complexity are setting their audience up for failure by defaulting to the, unfortunately, all too common “numbered approach” to leadership development. Moreover, leadership development programs that utilize this framework are doing a disservice to those participating. The leadership development industry can – and must – do better.
Avolio, B. (2005). Leadership Development in Balance: Made/Born. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.