Purpose: The paper aims to describe the emerging critique of leader development in health care and to describe an alternative approach. Design/methodology/approach: The paper explores the growing critique of leader development, highlighting the concentration on the development of individual human capital. The creation of social capital through an emphasis on leadership development is explained. Design principles and potential obstacles are identified. Findings: A rebalancing of the field from an over-concentration on the development of individual leaders to an emphasis on context and relationships is necessary. Practical implications: Although the basic building-blocks of development will remain the same, there is a need to rebalance them towards leadership rather than leaders. Originality/value: The paper brings together in one place various strands of concern over leader development in health care and makes a case for change. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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