Why Leadership Development Often Fails

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You walk into your place of work tomorrow. You find out that one of the key leaders in your organization, a good person who has made a tremendous impact on your life and the lives of many of those you work with, suddenly died in a freak accident.

Is your organization ready to replace this key leader?

The statistics around this are horrifying, and according to them, it’s highly unlikely you’re ready. I’d know; I’ve based my career on turning these statistics around.

For instance, only 7% of CEOs believe their companies are creating effective global leaders. Or how about only 25% of organizations saying that they have a successor identified for one out of ten critical leadership positions. That’s right: Only 25% of organizations are ready to replace only 10% of their critical positions. That means that about 97.5% of critical leadership positions are unprepared to be filled by anyone.

How is this possible when businesses annually spend over $3 billion on leadership development alone? How are we failing so epically in creating new leaders? That’s what we’re going to discuss.

Which Path Is Right?

One of the largest problems in leadership development is knowing where to even get started. There are thousands of development programs, all of which scream that their method is the only method you need to turn your

To understand where to start, you can’t just “take an expert’s word for it.” You need to actually know your team to discover their needs, and then you can begin to look for a program that will help them most.

Leadership Expert — Or Great Salesperson?

You’ve heard them speak, and wow! They were so motivational! They spoke so much truth! They gave great tips that you know will greatly impact your team!

Then what happens a few months later? None of these tips/tricks/techniques are being utilized in your team. Why?

The individual you heard or learned from was a great salesperson, and they got you to pay thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars for their “exclusive” patented training. They have techniques that can work — but there’s a difference between can and will.

If you really want lessons to stick and long-term impact to occur, you need a system that continues to develop you and your team. Weekend workshops or an hour-long stage lesson cannot provide a system you can utilize; it’s impossible. If you want these “experts” to continue to teach you, they will charge you again (or if they’re really good salespeople, they’ll offer their advanced courses).

What Worked For You May Not Work For Others

One other problem that comes up is what is known as the fallacy of composition, or, “If this is true for me, it must be true of everyone on my team.” Many leaders don’t treat their teammates as individuals and therefore put their own needs on their team when the rest of the team often needs something entirely different.

This can also tie closely with the “curse of knowledge” bias, where a leader assumes that their team has certain knowledge already, when in reality, their background never provided that knowledge. Based on this misunderstanding, leaders often will put their team into programs that they are not ready for.

These same biases also play out for whoever you have as a presenter. They often give knowledge that works for them, which they understand from their own background, but they have not made it truly applicable to you, your team or your organization, creating an unseen gap which cannot be filled in the short period that you have with these individuals.

‘Laws’ Act As A Barrier To Achievement

In our day and age, we love to have “laws” in development. These are irrefutable, indisputable, undeniable laws to success and leadership.

Here’s the problem with calling them “laws,” though: The word “law” implies that if you break them, then you’re in trouble. Often, these laws are completely impossible to follow to a T. Even in books and courses they often admit as much.

But when we see them as laws and we break them, unconsciously people tend to believe they are incompetent and don’t deserve to lead. When we miss the mark (which is inevitable because we’re human), we unconsciously feel like we deserve to go to “leadership jail.” Once here, it is difficult to pull oneself into a feeling of worthiness in a leadership position.

What Is A Leader, Anyhow?

Do you know what the definition of a leader is? Neither do most people. The dictionary says one thing, the thesaurus implies it’s a position, while my favorite, John Maxwell, says it is “influence: nothing more, nothing less.”

Yet do any of these actually hit at what it is we want? Not really.

We are looking for a person who is able to lead, at any level, and is able to help others unlock their potential. Yet most “leadership” programs aren’t designed to create what we’re looking for.

How To Rise To Become A Legendary Leader

What we need to realize is that one class or one workshop is not what we need.

Your perspective is not the only perspective, and often an outside view from a mentor or leadership coach is needed to help.

We need to treat individuals as exactly that: individuals, each with their own needs and differing places to develop.

We need continual development programs that expand as these individuals grow.

We need to understand that we seek to create what I call “legendary leaders.” This is what I hope you seek out when you are looking to dramatically make changes in your team, organization or business.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/11/04/why-leadership-development-often-fails/#2ae0f41c2464

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