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Why Leadership Development Often Fails

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At Integral Development, we have facilitated over 10,000 programs related to leadership development from our Perth offices. We have also participated in over 8,000 hours of executive coaching, mostly in the Perth market. One of our core beliefs is that accurate feedback in the workplace is essential to maximising potential.

Many of our leadership development clients in Perth have told us that their previous leadership development programs had failed them in various ways. When we compiled the feedback, one pattern dominated the results: many companies mistake leadership training for leadership development.

Apparently, this is not just a Perth problem, or even an Australian problem, but an international problem. We recently found an article on Forbes.com that covered the same ground, and has drawn one of the same conclusions we have: leadership development only works if it truly enables development instead of simply providing training.

Unlike the Forbes author, we believe that training is an essential part of development, but we agree that development is the most important part. One thing upon which we both agree is that training focuses on systems and practices, while development focuses on how the executive can utilise those systems and practices most effectively.

Training is necessary, but only in a sense that one must learn the rules and fundamentals of any business or system before he or she can maximise it. Training can be boring for a creative or entrepreneurial mind, because systems are learned by rote, and focus on a fixed set of standards.

At Integral Development, we focus on the word that is in our name: development. Teaching a system isn’t good enough. Leadership is much more than learning a system, and leadership development is much more than teaching a system.

Leadership development helps executives learn how to create solutions to problems. It helps develop the ability to think outside of the box to provide solutions within the box. Systems and practises are essential tools, but a great leader has to know how to use those tools to affect a positive outcome.

Simply stated, leadership development isn’t available in a “one size fits all” package; it requires working with the individual to get the most out of his or her abilities.

Contact us today to learn about effective leadership development.

Ron Cacioppe

Ron Cacioppe is the Managing Director of Integral Development and holds a BSc, an MBA and a PhD. He has taught in the Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.

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