How to Prevent Leadership Development Failures

The traditional path for Leadership Development focuses on the improvement and refinement of skills, and the understanding of models that aid in the diagnosis of which skill to apply in which situation.

This Doesn’t Work

This approach, is not proving to be beneficial for numerous reasons, including the lack of any element of measurement. Organizations continue to invest a significant amount of money and time without being sure of what benefits are being accrued. Managers are ending up overburdened by multiple, sometimes complex and conflicting, leadership models to analyze situations.

Deciding what skill a manager needs to develop next is often no more sophisticated than selecting a training course at the annual appraisal interview.

Because of these failures, more recently, extensive efforts have been put into establishing competency based models, customized to each organization, so that a focus can be given to improving how we work in “this” organization.

360 degree Feedback is no Better 

This has allowed learning programs to be tailored to perceived competency gaps. These gaps are often established using complex and time-consuming “360-degree” appraisal schemes involving comments from colleagues in subordinate roles, from peers and from more senior managers. What this approach misses is that every relationship is individual. So the skills and techniques relevant in seemingly the same situation will differ because of different individuals.

Everyone is a Leader

The reality is we must strip all of these structures away to expose a simple guide to achieving the core benefits that organizations and their individuals require. What matters is the behavior of the “leader” towards each individual employee and how that makes the individual employee feel. In organizations where everyone has to “lead” in some situations for some part of each working day (i.e. most all organizations) this requires skills to be developed in “all” employees and not just the chosen few at the top (then expecting gravity to get to the ones below). 

Keep (Make) it Simple

In order for all levels of employees skills to be improved, these complex models must be exposed for the simple dimensions that count for every individual employee in an organization. We must clearly state the behaviors that are helpful and those that hinder effective relationships. All of this has to be supported with a diagnostic and progress monitoring tool that is easy to use and understand.

Leadership development is directly correlated to higher employee engagement levels. Currently employee engagement is at an all-time low, so we can conclude that leadership development is too. The main concern for senior leaders is can the changes be made that are needed before it’s too late.

To learn about the system used for the last 10 years by leading organization as a diagnostic and monitoring tool that’s easy to use and understand. You can read about it in the free ebook 7 Keys to Employee Engagement available now. 

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