The short answer is it depends upon the "type" of program you have. If you are like most companies, you either have someone come in for a day or two or you send people to off-site leadership courses. They cover some really interesting material and the latest trends in leadership, discuss how that might work for your company and send everybody back to work when they are done. The "Leadership Course" box is checked off for HR, maybe a nice book, mug or certificate is handed out and..........nothing changes. Sound familiar?
Are You Getting What You Need?
I just read a great article by Deborah Rowland from Harvard Business Review on this very issue. She hits the nail on the head and just so you don't think I have been banging my drum all by myself on this issue here is a short excerpt from her article.
Too many business leaders today are out of touch with the employees they lead. Edelman estimates that one in three employees doesn’t trust their employer — despite the fact that billions are spent every year on leadership development. Part of the problem: Our primary method of developing leaders is antithetical to the type of leadership we need.
The vast majority of leadership programs are set curricula delivered through classroom-taught, rationally based, individual-focused methods. Participants are taken out of their day-to-day workplaces to be inspired by expert faculty, work on case studies, receive personal feedback, and take away the latest leadership thinking (and badges for their résumés). Yet study after study, including my own, tells us the qualities that leaders in today’s world need are intuitive, dynamic, collaborative, and grounded in here-and-now emotional intelligence.
The mismatch between leadership development as it exists and what leaders actually need is enormous and widening. What would work better?
Over the last 16 years I have carried out research into how leaders create change, and I’ve worked in the change leadership field for 25 years in multinational corporations. Over that time, I’ve come to appreciate four factors that lie at the heart of good, practical leadership development: making it experiential; influencing participants’ “being,” not just their “doing”; placing it into its wider, systemic context; and enrolling faculty who act less as experts and more as Sherpas. - Deborah Rowland, Harvard Business Review, October 2016.
Let me sum it up; good leaders need to get training that is experiential - it relates directly to what they are doing. It needs to focus on "being" or show leaders how to be in the moment. It needs to provide context within the broader needs of the organization and it needs trainers who guide rather than direct. Let me add one more; it needs to provide tangible proof that it works.
How Good Do You Feel About Your Investment?
As Rowland points out billions of dollars are being spent each year on leadership development and with little to show for it. Take a look at those four points (five if you include mine - lol!) and ask yourself if that describes your leadership program or the program you have been sending your prospective leaders to? If it doesn't, don't you think it’s time to make a change? Performance Leadership - Think About It!