Most organizations in the current times prefer developing their employees with specific skills required in the leadership as well as the general operation of the organizations. Whereas in the past organizations outsourced people with such skills to fill up positions when need arose, most organizations are now equipping their employees with prerequisite skills required for leadership, management and specialized roles. Talent nurturing and development is increasingly becoming a critical component of leadership I most organizations. Most organizations do this through leadership development as well as career development (Bridges, 2003). This paper seeks to explore the similarities as well as the differences between career development intervention and leadership development interventions.
To begin with, leadership development interventions include all the activities and policies that an organization puts in place aimed at enhancing and improving the leadership qualities of individual employees as well as that of the entire organization. These activities include, but are not limited to, sponsoring employee higher education in leadership, practical opportunities for leadership development, executive retries among others. Career development interventions; on the other hand, involves the strategies and mechanisms that an organization has put in place to ensure that employees progress in their career from one level to another. These interventions are concerned about creating a structure and a pathway for career development of individual employees within an organization.
Leadership development interventions have the ultimate goal of improving the capacity of an individual employee in order to enable such an employee to serve the organization at a leadership position. It aims at improving the efficiency and usefulness of an employee. Career development interventions, on the other hand, aim at improving the individual employee’s capacity to serve his or her own career development goals. Career development interventions serve individual objectives more than it does the organizational objectives. Leadership development interventions however serve the goals and interests of the organization.
Career developments interventions in effect create maintain and sustain a diversely competent workforce. This is because career development interventions preparer each employee for a greater responsibility that what they currently hold and creates structural pathways for them to move to a level of high responsibility. This consequently, creates a pool of potential and competent people for various positions in the event such positions fall vacant. Leadership development interventions on the other hand create and train a pool of leaders (Corporate Leadership Council, 2001). The interventions, however, do not concentrate on creating avenues in advancement of individuals as is the case in career development initiatives.
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Leadership development interventions are concerned about enabling the leader to be gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s culture, values and objectives. This is because such interventions aim at creating leaders who will spearhead the organization to achieve its objectives and keep its cultures and values. As such, the leader must fully understand such culture, values and objectives of the organization. Career development initiatives, however, does not take into consideration the values or objectives of the organization. It mainly focuses on ensuring that the employee has a definite career path and hence ensuring that such an employee is retained in the organization. Career development initiatives seek to retain employees in the organization and hence build a large pull of competent employees while leadership development initiatives seek to bridge the gap between the current leadership and the future leadership of the organization. The leadership interventions achieve this through initiatives that create a pool of leaders within the organization (Dubois & Rothwell, 2004).
Leadership development interventions focus on developing individuals who can lead team and build capacity in these very teams. These interventions enhance the ability of an individual to recognize factors that are bound to hinder the performance of organizations and proactively address them. The leadership development interventions further equip individuals with skills to motivate and improve the capacity of teams. Career development interventions on the other hand are concerned about the development of an individual and not the entire team. The interventions place a priority on the performance of an individual as far as career advancements is concerned.
Leadership development interventions and career development interventions are not, however, entirely different. There are some striking similarities between the interventions in organizational development. To begin with both interventions focus on developing and improving employees already in the organization as opposed to getting skilled personnel from outside the organization when need arise. Both Leadership development interventions as well as career development interventions involve training as well as talent nurturing among individuals.
In both development interventions, individual employees are prepared for greater responsibilities in the organization. Whether for leadership or the general running of the organization, both interventions equip individual employees with specialized skills. Moreover, both interventions seek to retain and promote individual employees as opposed to outsourcing specialized skills and leadership qualities. Both interventions seek to create a pool of talented and skilled manpower for both current as well as future needs of the organization. In conclusion, the striking deference between Leadership development interventions and career development interventions is the fact that leadership development interventions are focused on the organizational objectives while career development interventions are focused mainly on individual career objectives.