A quest for better leadership development

Would you let a surgeon operate on you if they weren’t trained for the job? No? So why do companies – and even countries – continue to put leaders in office without a guarantee that they know what they’re doing? Dr Hannes Leroy from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Management (RSM) researches how to develop leaders to be more effective.

Video content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYoJAFiflxE

Dr Leroy shares his striking observations in a TEDx talk. He says people aren’t born with leadership skills, nor is leadership some form of magic or art. The good news is that a lot of leaders are eager to learn, and a lot of people dedicated to helping leaders develop. The bad news is that leadership development is often described as a Wild West: shoot first, ask questions later. “In medical science, we make sure we only use those things that actually work. But in leadership development, people do things that haven’t been demonstrated to work and that may even be harmful to other people.”

Luckily, a 100 years of research gives us a good idea of the dos and don’ts of leadership, and people can get better at it. But these insights are not often used in practice. Dr Leroy: “We can make sure that leaders, from high school presidents all the way to country presidents, get the training they need and deserve.”

Watch Dr Hannes Leroy’s TED x video about this quest to society for to come up with professional standards for leadership in the same way that there are such standards for surgeons, lawyers, civil engineers, and psychotherapists, along with upholding leadership values and an oath.


Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this article, please contact Danielle Baan, Media Officer for RSM, via +31 10 408 2028 or baan@rsm.nl.

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