4 Reasons Why Leadership Development Fails

Leadership is one of the areas of human resource development which attracts the highest interest and financial investments. There are literally tens of thousands of books on leadership, universities make available thousands of courses and leadership-developing programs, and US companies alone invest tens of billions dollars on leadership training programs.

However, in spite of the great interest and the large sums involved in this trade, most leadership development programs fail to reach their goals. There are many possible reasons behind these programs not reaching the desired outcome, but we’ll focus on the most likely causes:

1. No support from the management team. Every management team should focus on developing leadership programs for the employees and get involved in designing them and laying out the content, as well as measuring progress and efficiency of said programs. When they don’t, the leadership program is most likely to focus on aspects which are not very relevant to the business, something which doesn’t benefit anyone.

2.  Not investing in the right people. The price tag for a leadership development program can be quite high. This is why it’s absolutely vital to identify the best people the company is going to invest in, those people who have the motivation and desire to give back to the company and make the expenses worth it.

3. Cutting corners. There’s nothing wrong in looking for a cheap solution, but you need to expect to get less than satisfying results. Design the program and budget it in accordance to your expectations. Many companies choose to go for ‘tutoring’ programs, where senior leaders within the company share their knowledge with the rest. That’s great, as long as you make sure those leaders have the skills needed to efficiently pass off their knowledge. Otherwise, your initiative is going to do more harm than good.

4. Addressing the wrong issues. Every leadership development program should target specific competences, based on the needs of the firm. Ignore that, and you’re going to waste time and money, with no results.

As we’ve said, there are many reasons why leadership programs can fail. Still, paying attention to these factors will significantly increase your chances of success.