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According to the McKinsey and Company article there is more than 14 billion dollars annually spent on Leadership Development. I’ve commented before on companies employing a one size fits all approach to Leadership Development.
Leadership Development professionals always have to fight for resources and budget for their programs because they struggle to quantify value. Leadership must be important — more than 20,000 books and thousands of articles have been written about the critical elements of and the impact it has on people, organizations and countries, if not the world. Despite the collective wisdom of centuries on this topic, confidence in our leaders is low and continues to decline. In the past 20 years, 30% of Fortune 500 chief executives have lasted less than three years. It appears the major reasons for this have nothing to do with competence, knowledge, or experience.
In a provocative article in the Harvard Business Review Blogs, author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic argues “the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence.
But he goes on to say that “arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas to work for the common interest of the group.
So why, when leadership development and training programs proliferate, do we continue to see significant levels of failure in leaders today?
Part of the reason why leadership development programs fails is inextricably tied to our notions of what makes a good leader.
Leadership training has become a big business, with publishers, universities and consultants jockeying to position themselves as the “go-to” partners and gurus to develop leaders, yet research shows most development programs fail to deliver expected returns. People & thought lwaders working in tgis area must move beyond comperencis and factor into skills and traits such as empathy, character, resilience and certain degree of vulnerability.
Terrific article Ray and thank you for shining a light on the importance of Emotional Intelligence in helping to grow leaders. ICF is the largest worldwide resource for professional coaches, and the source for those who are seeking a coach. As an executive coach working with senior leaders in Fortune 500 companies, I have seen a noticeable uptick in the interest in developing female leaders. Employee networking groups for women have also sprung up like wildflowers, and with them came websites, blogs, and special programs, all of them heralding the efforts being made to bring more women into leadership. Behind the veneer of enthusiasm, the numbers of women in the top leadership positions at most companies remain largely the same. Mentoring programs and recruitment efforts notwithstanding, the real status of women in corporate America reflects the status quo at best.
Presumably, some companies really do want to balance their leadership teams with greater diversity. Companies with a poor track record of advancing women have logically been hesitant to reveal the truth about their (lack of) diversity. CEOs who would never stand for stagnant profits need to stop standing for a stagnant population of their leadership roles. The effect of programs to advance and retain women that aren’t backed by action amount to little more than the revving of an engine, with the parking break firmly engaged.

Companies that don’t risk becoming dinosaurs in the eyes of their customers, who expect corporate leadership to step into the times. So, it should come as no surprise that 2/3 of executives they surveyed ranked Leadership Development as their number 1 Human Capital priority. This approach relies on the premise that the same leadership skills and leadership styles work for every situation, which is clearly not the case. Too often, we focus on effecting change without first trying to understand the why of current behavior. Yet despite the fact leadership training programs abound, they have failed to produce good leaders. In a 2012 survey by the National Leadership Index (NLI), released by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and Merriman River Group, 77% of respondents said the United States now has a crisis in leadership and confidence levels have fallen to the lowest levels in recent times.
Tasha Eurich, author of Bankable Leadership: Happy People, Bottom Line Results and the Power to Deliver Both argues “Though scientists spent most of the 19th century convinced that good leadership was inborn and fixed, the research of the early 20th century told a different story—that leadership is largely made. Most initiatives focus on competencies, skill development and techniques, which in some ways is like re-arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. Leadership development is frequently seen as the responsibility of the organization rather than a shared responsibility with potential and current leaders. Organizations continue to recruit leaders who fit the stereotype of a charismatic, narcissistic with little humility and a big ego. Unprecedented rate of leadership failure despite a deluge of leadership development programs is worrysome! I have struggled in my past HR role with measuring results from traditional leadership development programs. Leaders are not wrong for being bad people often make mistakes due to lack of knowledge , bad habits or too much stress.
Formed in 1995, today ICF is the leading global organization, with over 20,000 members, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches. With this new blog format, ICF Global is starting fresh, adding only the top posts from the previous blog. Companies are boasting about their efforts to attract and retain women, and we see more and more female-centric lists popping up: the most powerful women, spotlights on up-and-coming women, and companies where women want to work. With such a track record, even the most well-intentioned corporate leaders risk inviting the cynical perspective that what they really want is a way to pretty up their image—to show off their efforts with women without really making a change.
Companies that want to take advantage of the significant benefits of a balanced leadership team need to get the facts and track their progress: How many women are actually being advanced as a result of their leadership development and recruitment efforts? Leadership development programs that ostensibly prepare women for leadership roles without ever putting them into those roles merely raise the self-image of the companies that offer them—not the women themselves. In employee networking groups, women must have opportunities to network with powerful leaders who can help them advance—not just other women or lower level leaders with good ideas but little influence.
Companies with more women in leadership have been shown to outperform their competition by more than a third. If companies don’t hold themselves accountable, the public will, as talented women choose to work elsewhere and consumers choose to work with companies that reflect a diverse and changing world. The surprise – maybe not much of a surprise – comes from a different study where only 7% of leaders viewed Leadership Development as effective. Leadership Development programs should recognize that leadership needs depend on specific strategic initiatives, unique corporate cultures, and senior leadership mandates.Every Leadership Development plan should start with a specific organizational need in mind.

While the numbers should come as little surprise, we still deliver to much of our Leadership Development in a classroom setting.There is absolutely value in traditional Leadership Development training. Tools like the Leadership Skills Profile provide a unique perspective on why leaders do what they do and how they do it. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, 38% new chief executives fail in their first 18 months on the job. Cairo, in their book, Why CEOs Fail: The 11 Behaviors That Can Derail Your Climb To The Top And How To Manage Them, present cogent explanations, most of which have to do with hubris, ego and a lack of emotional intelligence. A recent study by Richard Arvey at Singapore’s NUS Business School revealed that up to 70 percent of leadership is learned.
Good leaders need to become masters of themselves before they can be masters of anything else. Ray writes regularly for such publications as Psychology Today, the Financial Post and Salon. Since becoming a certified executive coach and coaching for 13 years I am convinced that coaching brings out the best in leaders.
A strong representation of women leads to improved organizational health, global competitive advantage, responsiveness to stakeholders, and a better public image.
A focus on results will ensure companies’ efforts to promote women are not just a trend, but a transformation.
Asking yourself what is the program for will deliver more targeted leadership development programs and allow participants to focus on a few competencies with the maximum impact. However, the classroom should complement more opportunities for Leaders to learn from doing. Leadership Development should incorporate a self-awareness component to give leaders insight behind specific behaviors. When they would like to produce sympathy pertaining to people, get started 1st by simply creating sympathy pertaining to independently.I hope that you are broadly read. She strategizes with business leaders to enhance their performance and maximize business results.
The article focuses on 4 mistakes companies make that are likely to blame for the failure of Leadership Development Programs.
Looking at every new project as a Leadership Development opportunity is one of the many ways to include more ‘on-the-job’ Leadership Development.
The Center for Creative Leadership reports that 20 percent of C-level executives believe that leadership is born, and more than 28 percent believe it’s equally born and made. Her clients include presidents, vice presidents, and C-level executives in Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Adobe.
Know your Smart, Know your Strengths, Know your Self Worth, Know your Sexy-ness, Know your Sales.

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