5 Top Pitfalls of Leadership Development Programs and How to Avoid Them

February 14, 2020 at 8:00 am
Man in a business suit pointing to an upward growing bar graph.

Companies with effective leadership development programs see growth.

Although U.S. companies spend billions of dollars on leadership development programs, they are often shockingly ineffective at turning company employees into leaders. Here are some of the top pitfalls of most leadership development programs and how companies can avoid them and make their programs more effective.

1. They’re too standardized.

The attractiveness of standardized programs is that they are always the same for everyone. However, companies’ needs can be drastically different. If your company really wants a highly standardized leadership development program, just send your employees to a business school for a degree. If you want your program to meet your actual needs, you need to customize it carefully so it meets your objectives and delivers what you most want and need.

2. They’re too theoretical.

While there does need to be an informational component to leadership training, giving future leaders experiences from which to learn is more important for leadership development than classroom learning, no matter how interesting it is. Putting them in situations that require leadership and supporting them with mentors and supervision will teach future leaders far more than sitting in a classroom listening to theories that they can’t put into practice right away.

Leadership development.

It’s important to have an effective leadership development program.

3. Future leaders don’t “own” them.

As long as participants in the program don’t take ownership of their experiences, it won’t be effective in teaching them to lead well. Ownership means full engagement, giving feedback about the program, and helping to develop it as it goes on based on effectiveness and experience. Participants need to own the process, and they need to have input into it as well.

4. Barriers aren’t broken down.

There will always be barriers to leadership development and change within a company. If these barriers are not fully broken down in the process of leadership development, it will never achieve the levels of success desired. Breaking down barriers is a process that requires honesty and a willingness to confront uncomfortable realities to develop leaders that can truly take your company to the next level and overcome what are often long-standing challenges.

5. Programs settle for “better” instead of “best.”

Many training programs (leadership and otherwise) do not set high standards for success. Consequently, participants hit the bar that was set for them when it was possible for them to achieve greater heights. Asking employees for their best and then holding them accountable not only makes the program the best it can possibly be, but it is also a great way to lead by example and inspire future leaders to reach new heights.

Narish International helps companies build higher-performing teams. Contact us today to learn how we do it.