Leadership development refers to activities that improve the skills, abilities and confidence of leaders. Programmes vary massively in complexity, cost and style of teaching. Coaching and mentoring are two forms of development often used to guide and develop leaders.
According to Baldwin and Ford (1988), the success of leadership development is influenced heavily by the quality of the programme, level of support and acceptance from superiors, and the characteristics/learning style of the person being developed.
Some commentators differentiate between leadership development and leader development, the former being used when referring to development programmes focusing on collective leadership in an organisation and the latter on individuals.
Leadership development is a common process in succession planning, which aims to produce high-calibre leaders to take over senior positions when they become vacant. High-performers are typically identified for these leadership development programmes, which may be longer-term and broader than programmes focusing on tighter end-goals.