How Successful Executives Develop

Before we can describe the developmental gap between line and staff executives, we must first outline how we understand executive development to occur. The following is based on CCL research, begun in 1982, on how successful executives learn from experience (see Lindsey, Homes, & McCall, 1987; Morrison, White, & Van Velsor, 1987; and McCall, Lombardo, & Morrison, 1988; those readers who are familiar with this work may want to skip to the next section).

Successful and effective leaders get to be that way by responding positively and adaptively over a long period of time to diverse but specific experiences. Basically, these can be grouped into five types:

Challenging jobs. Challenging jobs—starting up something ...

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