Leadership is a term used in a variety of different ways, although it can be defined as the ability to lead others toward a common goal. Leaders also come in many different forms and can operate at any level, so the ability to identify and develop leaders can be challenging. Yet, when done correctly, leadership can bring about positive outcomes for people, businesses, and wider communities. This is why it’s important to adapt the approach to developing leaders to fit the current needs of an organisation, as well as invest in environments that enable leaders to be effective.

This factsheet investigates the concept of leadership and how it differs from management, explores the various factors that can influence leadership development, and briefly examines how a principles-based approach to practice can support the development of leadership skills in HR.

CIPD viewpoint

What is leadership?

How does leadership differ from management?

Leadership development

HR leadership

Further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Ksenia Zheltoukhova.

Ksenia Zheltoukhova

Ksenia Zheltoukhova: Research Development Manager

Ksenia is responsible for leading research innovation and capability development at the CIPD. She joined in 2013 as a Research Adviser, leading a number of projects, including a major research programme, Profession for the Future, investigating principles-based approach to professional standards as a way of driving ethical and sustainable decision-making by the business.

Prior to the CIPD, Ksenia was a researcher at The Work Foundation, working on Future of HR, Leadership, and Health and Well-being streams. With a background in organisational psychology, she holds a PhD in Management from Lancaster University, where her research examined the effects of leaders’ sacrificial behaviours on followers.


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