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3 Reasons Your Leadership Development May Be Failing


Developing great leaders is a priority for many organizations. Whether it’s some light hearted team building style leadership development or a serious program, there’s plenty of reasons that these programs may not be as effective as they could be. This brief post gives you the 3 most common reasons that leadership development falls short.

Potential never becomes performance

Unfortunately when the words ‘leadership development’ is mentioned, many will think of seminars or workshops, some might think of mentoring and coaching but it’s mainly through experience that great leaders are developed.

It is necessary to have some context on leadership but if those with potential are ever going to become great leaders they need to be given the opportunity to learn by doing. They need to have assignments were they will be both tested and allowed to make mistakes. It will be important to mentor them but keep them out of the class room except for the absolutely unavoidable information.

Top down development

Leadership development is all too often something an organization imposes on its people to produce better leaders. Anything ever written about leadership will talk about how personal it is; how it depends on character and willpower. This is why leadership development should be at least as much about giving the individual power to choose how they develop. This sort of approach will ensure ‘buy in’ and will mean that it can be adapted to the individual.

Great managers are assumed to be great leaders

Management and leadership are not, despite wide misconception, the same things. Someone who’s good at one may not be suitable for the other and vice-versa. Management skills are about getting the right details that get things done: organizing, planning, coordination, controlling and measurement of results. Leadership skills are less tangible and more about the getting people to get things done, such as: inspiring, motivating, building teams, imposing will and gripping a situation.

So, it follows that a leadership program needs to actually concentrate on leadership skills. They must asses leaders at these skill and be aware of the difference in managing.

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Posted on Mar 20 2014

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