Developing leadership competencies: Insights from emergent junior talent-intransitions in South Africa

Article English OPEN
MacDonald Kanyangale ; Noel Pearse (2014)
  • Publisher: Industrial Management Institute
  • Journal: International Journal of Organizational Leadership (issn: 2345-6744)
  • Subject: Management. Industrial management | Leadership Development Assessment | HD28-70 | Management Development | Portfolio Assessment | Leadership Development
    acm: InformationSystems_GENERAL | ComputingMilieux_THECOMPUTINGPROFESSION

Increasingly, leadership development programs are being challenged to produce robust evidence of their impact on leadership competencies of participants in South Africa. If used properly, portfolio assessment of one`s own leadership development journey has the potential to depict not just learning achievement, but also leadership growth and development. A multinational corporation in South Africa outsourced to a business school a program to develop leadership of selected 15 high-performing employees who were in transition to junior management. To the end of this study, qualitative research was conducted to get a complex and detailed understanding of how these participants perceived and self-assessed their own development of a self-selected set of leadership competencies over a period of time using portfolios. As the number was small, all the 15 personal and professional development portfolios were collected and analyzed using open coding and constant comparison techniques to induce themes. Evidence in the portfolios showed that while emergent junior talents were able to identify specifically the leadership competencies they were developing, they actually had difficulties to capture strong, relevant, and dynamic pathways of how their leadership competencies evolved and developed over time. More importantly, evidence in the portfolio revealed that the internal reward system was less supportive as it valued individual achievement of own performance target even at the expense of supporting others to develop their leadership. The lack of support from mentors and colleagues stifled leadership development of participants. This paper argues that it is vitally important that an organization's own systems are integrated and coherent enough not to inadvertently impede leadership development efforts.
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