The Leadership Development Gap: Why Do Companies Fail at Training New Leaders?

Leadership and learning have dramatically increased in importance, but the capability gap is widening. As the economy recovers, companies see an accelerating demand for leadership at all levels, especially among Millennials….Only 6 percent of companies feel fully ready to address their leadership issues, only 10 percent feel comfortable with their succession program, and only 7 percent have strong programs to build Millennial leaders.”

That data comes from Deloitte Consulting Global Human Capital Trends 2015.

Why does business fail to create new leaders? Why do they fail to develop senior leaders?

Leadership development feels like a “nice-to-have” instead of a “must-have.”

Leadership DevelopmentCompanies often see training as a “nice-to-have” function. This mindset needs to change at all levels, but especially for leadership development. Failure to prepare leaders is a blind spot for a business. A lack of vision hobbles your business as senior employees leave the workforce. Your talent pool shrinks when good employees leave because development is lacking.

Execs view leadership training as a “one and done” topic.

HR may offer leadership courses when you reach middle management. After that, you’re own your own until you reach the C-suite. That’s a short-sighted view.

Leadership involves nuance, networking, and relationship building. The skill levels of employees in these areas vary widely. Some need intensive training to develop their soft skills.

Learners gain skills with practice and training. Design training that can be measured against leadership competencies so you can monitor and support your leaders. Good programs let learners master specific skills. By measuring these skills you can assure your leaders are prepared. The progress of learners shows through the measurement data. Only through measurement can you know (and show) the valuable leadership capability your programs provide to your leaders and your business.

Too much attention at the top and too little attention to entry-level and mid-level leaders.

Here’s another interesting excerpt from the Deloitte study:

Nearly 9 out of 10 global HR and business leaders (86 percent) cited leadership as a top issue. Fully 50 percent of respondents in our survey rated their leadership shortfalls as “very important.” Yet only 6 percent of organizations believe their leadership pipeline is “very ready”—pointing to a staggering capability gap….many companies treat leadership sporadically, confining development to a select few employees, failing to make long-term investments in leadership, and neglecting to build a robust leadership pipeline at all levels.”

Jeff Schwartz, Principal at Deloitte, goes on to say in a video describing the leadership gap, “Not enough companies are focusing on developing leaders at every level—new leaders, emerging leaders, and senior leaders.”

Leadership preparation requires a bottom up approach. It needs to start with your newest hires, flow up to middle managers, and stay strong once your leaders reach the C-suite. It’s an ongoing process.

Not enough paths for Millennials to follow.

Millennials make up half of the current workforce. You ignore them at your peril. They want to participate in leadership and feel they are contributing to their organization.

Are you doing enough with your Millennial workforce to encourage their leadership aspirations and abilities?

You may want to check out these posts for ideas:

4 Paths to Transition Millennials from the College Mindset to the Corporate Mindset

6 Ways to Attract and Keep Millennials with Your Hiring and Training Programs

It’s Graduation Season. Do Your Training Programs Measure Up?

Are you doing enough to foster leaders? Do you know how to measure your leadership training success? eParamus can help. If you need help measuring your training and creating your next generation of leaders, contact us.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to send an InMail or connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD. I’d love to know more about your training challenges.