Despite the pandemic, growth-oriented organizations continued to invest heavily in learning and development initiatives. However, even after this, it has been found that leadership and management training programs often fail to achieve desired results. In spite of considerable investments of time, effort and money, why are executive leadership training programs losing their sheen? What is stopping companies from delivering high-impact training that can bring about tangible results? Here are some ideas behind why leadership training fails.
Lack of purpose
Organizations often rush to invest in leadership development training as it’s an easy box to tick. There are a plethora of off-the-shelf programs to pick from which are easy on the budget. Furthermore, managers may see training sessions as a time to relax and disconnect from work. If there is no clear objective and an expected desired outcome, leadership training is bound to fail. An endless course curriculum that is not tailor-made for the target audience will seem like a punishment rather than a tool for progress. On the other hand, programs that are carefully curated with specific objectives and goals will keep the learner riveted to the material and interested in improving oneself.
Lack of application
There’s no dearth of leadership training topics, books, and other resource material that could give learners an in-depth look at this skill. However, too much knowledge can sometimes be a bad thing. Programs that are entrenched in theory won’t help learners think out of the box. They need to know how to apply what they have learned to overcome the actual workplace challenges. This is why theory needs to be put into practice and into context through specific action. Opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge can help learners build confidence and discover a style of leadership which is best suited to their personality.
Lack of agreement
Organizations that try to introduce something new or bring out a change through leadership and management training programs quite often face direct or indirect opposition during implementation. If so, it’s time to check whether the leadership training has been customized to suit the mindset of the organization. Unless this aspect is addressed, any training initiative can be challenging to implement. Change is often difficult to accept, even for managers. It is important to understand the culture of the company before one can expect receptivity.
Lack of right timing
Quite often, a majority of HR executives globally feel that their organizations lack strategically-aligned training programs. This is because training in leadership is not introduced at the right time to the right people. There is a need to gather feedback through surveys or interviews on who would be the right audience for a particular program. Choosing leadership training topics that are most relevant and useful for an organization’s target learners is essential. All these are pertinent actions to take, in order to ensure that the program is focused on those who would benefit the most from the program.
Lack of measurement
Whether dealing with leadership training for small business owners or for a huge conglomerate, measurement and evaluation is key! However, this step goes in tandem with setting the right objectives. The lack of a clear goal will make evaluation difficult as there won’t be measurable KPIs to monitor. A well-defined and implemented leadership development training program should have an impact on key areas of business. For instance, it should lead to greater employee engagement, better customer and employee satisfaction, higher levels of employee retention and eventually it should lead to business growth. Engagement surveys, psychometric assessments and 360 reviews are just some of the tools that can be used to measure progress. This will also help fine-tune future training in leadership, paving the way for better results.
These loopholes in leadership training can be easily avoided by putting in some effort during the planning stage. Organizations need to stop thinking about executive leadership training as a point to mark-off on a to-do list, but as an activity that is critical to business survival and growth.