Why leadership education fails to produce the desired results ?



I have witnessed and observed many kinds of programs dedicated to leadership development. Unfortunately, most of these programs fail to accomplish their objectives – build better leaders for the present and future. There is a reason for this.

Based on the statistics available from the American Society of Training and Development, businesses in the United States spend over $170 billion on leadership development training. The problem lies in training. Leaders cannot be trained. They have to be developed. The main reason for the failure of leadership development programs is the fact that trainers and facilitators make use of training to build leaders. While the trainers will use post-training analysis and reports to show that the training was successful, a close look will show that the training was not productive.

Today, the term training is often confused with development. The popular belief is that the terms are one and the same and are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms are completely different and have different approaches. If the training industry realizes this, than we can develop leaders, who can propel their organizations forward and help them meet their goals.

The Problem with Using Training to Create Leaders

Training takes the fact for granted, that those coming for leadership development programs need to be indoctrinated about the different processes, techniques and systems. It also believes that these techniques, processes and systems are the only way to build leaders. Just because a trainer thinks something to be the best practice, it does not mean that he is right. The difference lies here. Training usually concentrates on the best practices, but development, on the other hand, lays emphasis on next practices. Training is one dimensional and believes that what it covers, is useful for one and all. It takes an authoritarian stance where outdated and static information is imposed on those attending the training session. It is often trainer-led, wherein the trainer gives a lecture and the attendees take notes. Above all, training usually focuses on past experiences and does nothing about future needs.

Overcoming the Problem

The best way to overcome this problem is to ensure that instead of training, your business begins to focus on development. There is no need to train leaders. Instead the organization should be looking to develop, mentor and coach leaders. Training is all about sticking to a status quo, but development shatters the status quo and helps individuals come out and think uniquely and differently. If you look at real leaders, you will not find them going anywhere near training. They will always be in favor of development and will have no qualms about attending and sending others for development programs. This is because development is not static, rather it is fluid and dynamic; it is collaborative; it helps to focus on issues; and allows the individuals to put their learning into action right away.

Differences between Training and Development

Here are some differences between training and development that will help you understand why the latter should be used to build leaders and not the former.

  • Training sticks to a norm, but development takes place out of the norms.
  • Training is all about concentrating on techniques; development, on the other hand, concentrates on people.
  • Training tests your patience and may make you want to run away from the session. Development tests your courage and makes you stay back and face challenges and obstacles.
  • Training is all about the present; development is all about the future.
  • Training sticks to standards; development is about breaking shackles and achieving your maximum potential.
  • Training concentrates on maintenance, while development lays emphasis on growth.
  • Training is simple indoctrination, but development tries to educate.
  • Training keeps everything at status quo; development spurs innovation.
  • Training can suppress the culture of an organization, but development helps to enrich and augment the culture.
  • Training forces people to comply, while development forces people to perform.
  • Training is all about efficiency, whereas development is about effectiveness.
  • Training ends up being mechanical, while development forces people to use their intellect.
  • Training makes people think in-the-box, while development spurs thinking out-of-the-box.
  • Training keeps people in their comfort zone, but development takes them out of their comfort zone and this helps them excel and reach their potential.v
  • Training just concentrates on the problems, but development concentrates on finding solutions to these problems.
  • Looking at these differences, it is imperative that organizations think beyond training. They have to look at development and that is where leadership education comes to the forefront. This education will help you build leaders for the future who will become innovative, creative and critical thinkers. They will find solutions on how to build the organization and take it forward. They will see how to overcome competition and make things happen. However, if you stick to training, you will end up having a group of static thinkers, who will not be able to spur growth or lift your bottom line.

    Today more organizations are realizing the importance of leadership education and that is why they are more conducive to using this education to develop their leaders and emerging leaders. They have come to realize that if their leaders do not grow and evolve according to changing times, their organizations will also not be able to grow and evolve.

    Author Bio: David is a coach and mentor, who strongly favors using development to build and produce leaders. If you want to understand how leadership courses can benefit you then he is the right person to help you.