Leadership development expands the capacity of individuals to perform leadership roles within organizations. Leadership roles are those that facilitate execution of a company’s strategy through building alignment, gaining buy-in, and growing the capabilities of others. Leadership roles may be formal, with the corresponding authority to make decisions and take responsibility, or they may be informal roles with little official authority (e.g. a team member who influences the team, one who gains a following with a purpose and direction; a lateral peer who must listen and negotiate through influence).
Leadership development is thought to be integral to business success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership holds that 65 % of companies with mature leadership development programs improved business results as compared to 6 % of companies without such a program. Similarly, 86% of companies with leadership development programs responded rapidly to changing market conditions whereas only 52% of companies with immature programs were able to do so.