5 Reasons Why Leadership Development Programs Fail


5 Reasons Why Leadership Development Programs Fail

A little secret that is quite there in leadership development, but nobody talks about it. It is that many leadership development programs fail. You have read this just right, that most programs fail to get their objectives.

This is even though 80 percent of the companies viewed leadership development as the higher priority in the recent 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report.

There are many reasons why leadership development programs fail, and some of them will be listed below. Most people forget what they have learned as soon as the program finishes. It is very extensive research that shows that all people forget 70% of the new information in 24 hours.

So the managers return to work after the training ends and nothing changes. They get stuck in the day-to-day activities and can not perform as expected.


So what are the reasons why leadership development programs fail? Let us find the main reasons below:

Identifying The Clear Point Of View Or Objective

Context is the main key. One size won’t fit all. Most organizations invest in the off-the-shelf programs or send their managers to academic leadership courses provided by well-respected universities without considering the five Ws, i.e., who, when, what, where, why.

Companies have to ask themselves what the desired result is and how it will relate to the specific organizational goals.

Right People And The Right Time

One of the main things that all of the people falling into the leadership programs should know that leadership development is not for all. A few employees in any organization are ready, and a few aren’t. Ultimately, the old saying ‘what you put in is what you will get out’ plays a major role in success.

Surveys and many interviews may help narrow down the focus for those that must be part of this kind of program when and why.

Application Is The Key

A leadership development course can use an endless amount of possible curriculum from emotional intelligence and developing the coaching styles to employee onboarding, project execution, and debriefing. And, of course, a lot more than that. That is the good news here. But there are only a few challenges also to avoid.

Without having any in-depth needs of analysis, the organizations may choose the wide cross-section of the learning modules, which sound great but do not necessarily complement each other or have a right on the jo applications.

Measure The Outcomes

All of the leadership development courses are worth the investment of time and the resources needed to be fun and highly engaging. Otherwise, it is only one more piece of work that people have taken on.

Participants need to look forward to it greatly. That being said, a few programs or the team-building experiences companies invest in are only that. Fun at the moment but has no actual or lasting impact on the organization or the individual. Team building and social interaction are highly important, but there should be some measurable elements in ita s well.

Be Okay In Being Uncomfortable

In SEAL training, arguably the most brutal of special operations training and selection programs in the world, the instructor will tell you to be okay in being uncomfortable. Being a successful leader is a lifelong journey.

We are all humans, and we all make mistakes, get distracted and behave quite inconsistently, and damage trust. But the best leader is the one that knows how to grow out of these things and always rise higher.



These were the reasons why leadership development programs fail. You may also be having similar issues in your organization, but the solutions are always there as well.