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Rethinking Leadership Development Evaluation

The following article was originally published in Stanford Social Innovation Review as part of their “Recognizing Leadership in All Its Forms” series. To read the article in its entirety visit SSIR with your subscription information or download a PDF.

The social sector generally considers leadership development a good investment, especially when it comes to cultivating systems-level change. But ask leadership program developers and evaluators, “What is leadership?”, and you will often get vague responses rife with potential bias: “You’ll know it when you see it,” or “It’s the special sauce,” are two surprisingly common answers.

Yet clearly defining leadership is essential to determining the quality and efficacy of a development program. It establishes the “what” and “why”—concrete intentions that help guide the way to understanding what does and does not work.

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