Emerging Leaders Development Framework Definitions


Represent the desirable values, beliefs and priorities held by an organization.  Principles that guide organizational activities, initiatives and investments in developing emerging leaders include a commitment to:

  • Learning and Development
  • Developing and Maintaining Effective Relationships
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning


Organizational Practices

Methods, procedures, and processes employed by an organization in the pursuit of its objectives. Organizational Practices that support the development of emerging leaders include:

  • Develops Opportunities for Organizational and Individual Growth
  • Supports a Learning Culture
  • Engages in Collaborative Learning
  • Acquires and Shares Capabilities and Knowledge
  • Thinks and Plans Strategically
  • Adapts to Change
  • Assesses and Evaluates Effort



Indicators describe the state of an organization employing practices that support the development of emerging leaders.

Commitment to Learning and Development

Learning and development is valued and demonstrated through planned strategic investment in individual and group skill development, as well as in the organizational infrastructure necessary to support learning and development.

1.a  Develops Opportunities for Organizational and Individual Growth
Internal and external learning opportunities for individuals and the organization are pursued or created. Indicators of this practice include:

  • Support emerging leaders to apply their formal learning in the workplace
  • Advocate for more relevant and applied education and training programs with providers
  • Support formal and informal learning opportunities for emerging leaders
  • Identify and supports optimal delivery methods for leadership development
  • Facilitate access to relevant courses and programs

1.b Supports a Learning Culture
Attitudes, values and practices that support continuous learning within the organization are adopted. Indicators of this practice include:

  • Invest resources in leadership and professional development
  • Cultivate awareness of organizational culture amongst staff and board
  • Welcome and support diverse leadership practices and styles
  • Invest in capacity-building and operational infrastructure to support learning and leadership development
  • Cultivate board and staff commitment to leadership development
  • Identify characteristics / traits of emerging leaders relevant to the organization

Commitment to Developing and Maintaining Effective Relationships

Individuals and organizations are engaged in collaboration that supports the development of emerging leaders. Expertise within and across organizations and the sector is recognized and leveraged, taking advantage of a professional environment that supports and enhances formal and informal learning

2.a Engage in Collaborative Learning
Partnerships that draw on expertise, resources and supports to develop leaders are sought within the organization and the sector.  Indicators of this practice include:

  • Engage board and staff in developing and implementing a shared vision for leadership development within the organization and the sector
  • Leverage networks, interactions and critical relationships in order to develop leaders
  • Support strategies to connect people across and within organizations

2.b  Acquires and Shares Capabilities and Knowledge
Investments are made to acquire information and knowledge that supports leadership development. Leadership supports are developed and fostered through the cultivation of peer networks and knowledge sharing mechanisms. Indicators of this practice include:

  • Share capabilities, resources and knowledge with internal and external partners to develop emerging leaders
  • Invest in leadership research and development
  • Cultivate abilities to apply and utilize the findings from  leadership research within the organizational context
  • Applies evidence based decision-making to the process of leadership development

Commitment to Strategic Thinking and Planning

Strategic goals and outcomes regarding leadership development are identified and innovative plans to achieve those goals are developed and refined to reflect new circumstances and learnings

3.a  Thinks and Plans Strategically
Future leadership needs are defined and development goals identified. Strategies are defined and implemented to achieve those goals. Indicators of this practice include:

  • Create practices, procedures, and policies that support the development of emerging leaders
  • Identify and implement vision, direction and resources for leadership development
  • Engage in future-oriented and critical thinking about the role of leaders
  • Create and implement strategies to address barriers to leadership development
  • Invest in succession/transition planning
  • Cultivate critical thinking, problem-solving and strategic decision-making skills throughout the organization

3.b  Adapts to Change
The organization defines and implements responses to changing operating environments that enable it to benefit from opportunities that arise.

  • Create conditions for change and space for innovation
  • Develop capacity and infrastructure to support change
  • Actively manage change within the organization
  • Support strategic risk-taking with accountability

3.c  Assesses and Evaluates Effort
The organization implements a system for continuous improvement; monitoring and evaluating leadership development efforts against well defined goals.

  • Adopts a systems perspective to enable understanding of how patterns, trends and systemic relationships affect leadership development efforts
  • Monitors, assesses and evaluates impact leadership development initiatives and efforts
  • Aligns organizational systems and processes to achieve the goal of developing emerging leaders

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DEVELOPING EMERGING LEADERS: An Organizational Approach Strategic Framework


Mandie Abrams

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