Why Leadership Development Is Failing and How Can This Be Fixed?

Successful team leadership is important for driving the success and growth of an organization. Today almost every business organization believes that leadership development programs are crucial in boosting engagement and improving profitability and performance. However, leaders fail to make the best out of the available business opportunities despite implementing the learning programs and putting in the best efforts. There could be various reasons for it.

In this article, we have highlighted the top reasons for the failure of leadership development and their solutions. Let’s get started.

1. Disconnect between the leadership teams at various levels

Excellent leaders, be at the middle or top management level, work towards bringing a change in the organization. Companies that don’t have united leadership teams fail to set strategic priorities, the right behaviors, and the important messages required for modeling the values and vision. Eventually, it leads to the failure of the Leadership development program.

Solution – Consistent communication between the middle and top leaders is crucial to finding real-time solutions to non-privileged and privileged issues.

2. Failure to invest sufficient time in training and skill development

It is one of the biggest factors for the ineffectiveness of a leadership program. When the individuals don’t give enough time and effort to hone their skills and capabilities, they may not get the best out of the learning program. Plus, they also fail to determine what works best for them. Often, individuals don’t take training to “save” their time, or they’re too busy.

Solution – Leaders or managers should create a flexible schedule suitable for them and their team according to their team size. Plus, individuals should be given multiple timing options for the training program.

3. Limited practical applications of the training and learning

Leadership programs that aren’t focused on practical aspects of the concepts do little good to the learners and the organizations. The training should be rooted in both academic and practical models. Individuals should be able to leverage their knowledge in day-to-day work situations.

Besides, leadership development courses also fail to deliver the best results if the training has no scope or doesn’t apply to the business. It happens in cases where the course and training aren’t specific to the corporate goals. The skills acquired through the course bring no or minimal changes at an organizational level.

Solution – The leadership team development program should align with the corporate goals. The content and info delivered through the course should be relevant and have practical applications.

4. Not offering leadership training programs early to the professionals

Most managers fail to succeed or reach the desired level due to a lack of sufficient training and development. Giving leadership training to young professionals proves to be much more helpful for the individuals and the organization.

If managers don’t receive any formal training for leadership and management until their 40s, they may waste the “most productive years” of their professional life. They won’t have the opportunity to tap into their true potential. Also, poor management skills and habits are hard to break in people after a certain age.

Solution – Introduce leadership development programs as early as possible to ensure the training program’s success.

5.  Lack of required support from team members

Most leadership courses fail to bring the desired results because the trained people lack the accountability and support of their team. Team members who fail to adapt to the changes become troublemakers for both the managers and the organization.

Learn More: Accountability and Leadership

Good learners always focus on sharing their knowledge. They look forward to discussing ways of making effective changes with new and innovative ideas. But resistance to change by the team members fails as they lack feedback and training from their team leaders.

Solution –The leadership development program can be successful if the team members focus on the learning and feedback given by their leaders(s).

6. Leadership development doesn’t fit in real challenges scenarios faced by managers

It is an important yet ignored factor that decides the success or failure of a leadership development course. If the course doesn’t align with the values and vision of the managers and the organization, then it won’t bring considerable change in the work. Hence, it’s important to develop a leadership program that integrates seamlessly into the lead management system that the individuals seek to establish.

Solution – Real-life scenarios should be incorporated into the course the managers face every day. It will allow the learners to connect themselves with the program and develop skills that could be transferable to their daily work.

7. Lack of personal commitment to self-growth

Leadership development is a two-way thing where the employer initiates the skill enhancement process, but the individual is required to take equal initiative. Leadership skills aren’t limited to managing or leading teams. The process involved character-building, personal, and inward growth. Excellent leaders must develop deep confidence, courage, self-awareness, influence, and credibility.

Solution – The individual must focus on personal growth, mental strength, and the potential needed to handle the challenges of the leadership role.

Learn More: Leadership-development-statistics

8. Unclear strategic direction from top management

The success of a team leader or manager depends on the strategies and directions given by the company’s top management. Unclear take on values and strategies leads to confusion and conflicts. The senior executives should work as a team. They should acknowledge the changes on both individual and organizational levels. Only then the managerial teams can deliver the best results effectively.

Solution – Top authorities and senior executives should focus on bringing clarity to the organization’s key values so that the team leaders can better understand what is expected of them. It also helps guarantee the success of leadership development.


From the above-listed reasons responsible for the failure of leadership training programs, we can conclude that it’s important to dig deep into the feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and assumptions of leadership development to work.

Companies must provide fertile ground by establishing strategic values and directions to bring the desired change. Both organizations and individuals need to put up real work through mentoring and coaching interventions to succeed in leadership development.

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